Schedule 6 - Transfer of property, rights and liabilities to the Board

Pensions Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 9:30 am on 30th March 2004.

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

I beg to move amendment No. 413, in

schedule 6, page 191, line 40, at end insert—

'2A Any claims for unfair dismissal or other breach of a contract of employment arising therefrom are payable in full by the Board.'

The amendment concerns another small point, which I dare say the Under-Secretary is about to tell me is already dealt with in the Bill. I shall plunge on regardless.

Schedule 6 sets out in some detail the property rights and liabilities being transferred to the board under clause 123. Paragraph 2(2) provides for any contracts of employment to be immediately terminated. I understand that that would include anyone who had been directly employed by the trustees. I am advised that the schedule should make it clear that any claims for unfair dismissal or unlawful breach would be payable by the board, not the trustees.

I think that the point involved in this amendment is subtly different from the one dealt with under amendment No. 411. Some genuine concern seems to have arisen about it, and I should be interested to hear from the Under-Secretary why my amendment is inappropriate.

Photo of Mr Chris Pond Mr Chris Pond Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department for Work and Pensions

While I am on a winning streak, may I suggest again to the hon. Gentleman that the legitimate points that he has raised have already been dealt with? He is right to say that any rights and liabilities under contracts of employment that would be transferred to the board are terminated and become void on the day preceding the day that the transfer notice is received by the trustees or managers of the scheme. That does not mean, of course, that any entitlement that people have in terms of unfair dismissal would no longer fall to the board.

Schedule 6 also allows for any legal proceedings by or against the scheme or applications pending immediately before the transfer to be continued by or against the board. The amendment seeks to allow any claims for unfair dismissal or other breach of contract of employment arising from the issue of the transfer notice to be transferred to the board. However, subsection (2)(a) of clause 123 already provides for the property, rights and liabilities of a scheme to be transferred to the board once a transfer notice has been issued. Any contractual issues arising as a result of the transfer notice will be transferred to the board. Those would include outstanding employment issues. Under those circumstances, I hope that the hon. Gentleman will agree that the amendment is unnecessary.

Photo of Nigel Waterson Nigel Waterson Conservative, Eastbourne 9:45 am, 30th March 2004

That serves me right. I am happy to accept the Minister's explanation, and I beg to ask leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Schedule 6 agreed to.