Pensions Bill

– in a Public Bill Committee on 23rd March 2004.

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[Mr. Win Griffiths in the Chair]

Photo of Nigel Waterson Nigel Waterson Conservative, Eastbourne 9:30 am, 23rd March 2004

On a point of order, Mr. Griffiths. On the morning that four of the most senior actuaries in the country have written to the Secretary of State expressing their serious worries about the Bill, I want to know what shape it will be in by the end of our proceedings in Committee. The Ministers have been good enough to tell us that amendments will be tabled to clarify section 67 of the Pensions Act 1995 to introduce a facility to transfer, thus simplifying guaranteed minimum pensions, removing the requirement to provide an additional voluntary contributions facility and consultation with trade unions. I refer also the more recent revelation that the Government want to amend the Bill to deal with defined contribution schemes.

Such issues are important and weighty. I am not suggesting that they should not form part of the Bill, but at the end of our proceedings on Thursday the junior Minister said that he would write to me about such matters. As yet, I have not received a letter, but at the beginning of the third week in Committee, which started yesterday with 10 pages of Government amendments to the Bill, it is reasonable to ask when the meaty amendments will be tabled and, more importantly, when people outside the House with a legitimate interest in such matters will see them.

Photo of Mr Win Griffiths Mr Win Griffiths Labour, Bridgend

I thank the hon. Gentleman for requesting that information. I am sure that the Ministers will have heard it. I agree that it is important that such matters are resolved and I am sure that, during the day, the Committee will receive some further information. Whether it satisfies the hon. Gentleman or not is another matter.Clause 178 Pension schemes to which this Part applies