Schedule 11 - Minor and consequential amendments

Pensions Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 2:00 pm on 22nd April 2004.

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Amendments made: No. 90, in

schedule 11, page 229, line 6, at end insert—

' In section 53 (supervision: former contracted-out schemes), after subsection (1B) insert—

''(1C) But where a direction under subsection (1) conflicts with a freezing order made by the Regulatory Authority under section 20 of the Pensions Act 2004 in relation to the scheme then, during the period for which the freezing order has effect, the direction to the extent that it conflicts with the freezing order—

(a) is not binding as described in subsection (1), and

(b) is not enforceable as described in subsection (1B).'''.

No. 91, in

schedule 11, page 229, line 6, at end insert—

' In section 99 (trustees' duties after exercise of option)—

(a) in subsection (4) after ''circumstances,'' insert ''by direction'', and

(b) in subsection (4A) for ''in relation to applications for extensions under subsection (4)'' substitute ''requiring applications for extensions under subsection (4) to meet prescribed requirements''.'.

No. 92, in

schedule 11, page 229, line 6, at end insert—

' In section 101J (time for compliance with transfer notice)—

(a) in subsection (2) after ''circumstances,'' insert ''by direction'', and

(b) in subsection (6)(a) for ''in relation to applications for extensions under subsection (2)'' substitute ''requiring applications for extensions under subsection (2) to meet prescribed requirements''.'.

No. 93, in

schedule 11, page 229, line 8, at end insert—

' In section 168(4) (penalties for contravention of regulations) after ''the provision'' insert ''to be required by notice in writing''.'.—[Mr. Pond.]

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

I beg to move amendment No. 571, in

schedule 11, page 229, line 8, at end insert—

' In section 146 (functions of the Pensions Ombudsman)—

(a) for subsection (1)(f) substitute—

''(f) any dispute, in relation to a time while section 22 of the Pensions Act 1995 (circumstances in which Regulator may appoint an independent trustee) applies in relation to an occupational pension scheme, between an independent trustee of the scheme appointed under section 23(1) of that Act and either—

(i) other trustees of the scheme, or

(ii) former trustees of the scheme who were not independent trustees appointed under section 23(1) of that Act, and'', and

(b) in subsection (8), in paragraph (a) of the definition of ''independent trustee'' for the words from ''section 23(1)(b)'' to the end substitute ''section 23(1) of the Pensions Act 1995 (appointment of independent trustee by the Regulatory Authority)''.'.

Photo of Mr Win Griffiths Mr Win Griffiths Labour, Bridgend

With this we may discuss the following:

Government amendments Nos. 572 to 578.

Government new clause 38—Independent trustees.

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

I want to take Committee members for a stroll down memory lane. When we discussed clause 31, we committed ourselves to tabling a new clause to deal with independent trustees. That new clause is now before us.

New clause 38 amends sections 22 to 25 of the 1995 Act. It gives the regulator power to appoint an independent trustee if the employer is insolvent or if there is a pension protection fund assessment in relation to the scheme. The 1995 Act requires an insolvency practitioner or official receiver to ensure that an independent trustee is in place at all times. If there is none, they are required to appoint one. There is evidence to suggest that an independent trustee is not always appointed. Currently, the only way to resolve that situation is for a member of the scheme to apply to court to force the insolvency practitioner or official receiver to appoint an independent trustee. However, that does not happen often, mainly because of the potentially prohibitive personal costs to the

member. The new clause will help to ensure that an individual trustee is appointed where required by empowering the regulator, rather than the insolvency practitioner or official receiver, to appoint an independent trustee.

My hon. Friends the Members for Cardiff, West (Kevin Brennan) and for Hamilton, South (Mr. Tynan) expressed unease about the fees charged by independent trustees, especially when a scheme is in wind-up. By enabling the regulator to decide whether an independent trustee appointment is appropriate, rather than by requiring an insolvency practitioner or official receiver to appoint one in every case, we do away with unnecessarily costly appointments. The regulator will have the power to opt instead to appoint a trustee under section 7 of the 1995 Act, and that trustee could be a member or a lay trustee.

The regulator will also have the power to determine whether the employer, the scheme or both should meet the costs of any independent trustee that the regulator appoints. The new clause also allows the regulator to establish a register of independent trustees. It requires any independent trustee that the regulator appoints to come from that register. We will set out in regulations the minimum criteria for inclusion on the register, but I assure hon. Members that the measure will enable the regulator to monitor the fees charged by independent trustees. I know that that innovation will be welcomed by Members on both sides of the Committee.

A mixed bag of consequential amendments accompany the new clause; I offer my apologies for that, but they are all necessary technical and editing changes resulting from the amendments to section 22, and the replacement of sections 23 and 24, of the 1995 Act. The amendments further demonstrate our resolve to protect members in occupational pension schemes and their rights. The measures are supported by the insolvency practitioner and independent trustee groups. I hope that the new clause and the related amendments are accepted.

Photo of Nigel Waterson Nigel Waterson Conservative, Eastbourne

We broadly welcome new clause 38, as do the professionals involved. There are circumstances in which the role of independent trustees is important, even in existing legislation. There is at least some anecdotal evidence of cases in which an independent trustee could have been of great assistance but has not been appointed because of the problems associated with doing that, not least of which is the legal costs involved in bringing the matter to court. It fits in logically with the scheme of the new legislation for the regulator to have that power.

I was expecting a bit more on how the role of independent trustees will fit into the new architecture. On one level, one could argue that such trustees might be a less frequently used weapon in the armoury because of all the regulator's other powers. Will the independent trustees wither on the vine because there are so many other powers? To use a metaphor, it seems that a choice of clubs—some blunter than others—might be allowed to help to deal with a particular shot on the golf course. However, as I know absolutely nothing, and care even less, about golf, I shall abandon that analogy. I apologise profusely to any golfers in—well, the entire electorate, really. There was

a time when, to be a Tory MP, it was a requirement to play golf with a certain handicap, but I think that that has now been dropped.

Photo of Nigel Waterson Nigel Waterson Conservative, Eastbourne

Tee hee.

I understand that it makes a lot of sense for the regulator to have the power that we are discussing. It may have been the hon. Member for Glasgow, Anniesland (John Robertson) who said that the cost of the independent trustees can appear exorbitant—perhaps I should not say that, although we enjoy absolute privilege. If, in passing, the measures allow the regulator to keep an eye on fees, that is helpful and important. I gather that that is the policy intention behind the measures.

Will the Under-Secretary talk us through the circumstances in which it would be appropriate to charge particular parties? He was saying, and it seems clear from the new clause, that the scheme, the employer, or both could be charged. Perhaps he could say a little more about how that will operate. What would be the logic behind the decision to charge one or the other, or possibly both? If the third of those options were taken, how would the charge be apportioned?

Broadly, we support the provisions. For once, they seem to have been consulted on, and their terms seem to have been agreed with the practitioners, so it would be churlish for us to disagree with them.

Photo of Steve Webb Steve Webb Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

We certainly welcome new clause 38, particularly proposed new section 23(4), which says:

''Regulations must provide for the Authority''—

I presume that that is the regulator—

''to compile and maintain a register of persons who satisfy the prescribed conditions for registration.''

I want to probe that a little further. A few weeks ago, we did not even know that the provision was coming; now it is to be in the Bill. That is welcome, but those who will be subject to it might reasonably want to know a bit more about what is in the Government's mind.

The new clause states that the regulator will do that. Will the regulator be given a free hand or will the Government offer guidance on what they consider to be excessive charge levels? How might such things be measured? Would there be a maximum percentage of the fund that could go in charges, or a maximum length of time in which to wind up? Could somebody approved for the list who puts out a new wind-up price list, which has increased that month so that it goes beyond the price cap, get knocked off the list?

How is this all going to work? The proposal is a good thing in principle, but it is at the other end of the scale from most of the Bill. It is almost too succinct to give us much of a clue about how it will operate. Who will decide the issue? The new clause states that it will be the regulator. Do the Government have any views? Will they express their views, or will the regulator

simply get on with it? Is it likely to be a tough hurdle to get across? There is a widespread feeling that independent trustees have ripped off a lot of workers who were already not going to get much pension—in fact nothing at all, what with £100 charges for a phone call and all that business.

I urge the Government to press the regulator to make this a tough, tight price cap. It would be helpful to know how far the Government are thinking of going.

Photo of Mr Chris Pond Mr Chris Pond Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department for Work and Pensions 2:15 pm, 22nd April 2004

I welcome what I take to be support for the provisions from both Opposition spokespeople. To take the last points raised first, the issue of the charges has been raised by many Committee members in the past. In fact, when funds are already in some difficulty, the charges may make the difficulties worse. We are taking action to allow the regulator to check independent trustees' fees. In more straightforward cases, the regulator can appoint a trustee under section 7 of the 1995 Act in order to try to keep control of the costs. As I said in opening the debate, that person may be not a professional trustee but a lay member.

I am not sure whether it would be appropriate to have a scale of charges, because the circumstances, the amount of work involved and the size of the fund would differ. It is probably appropriate that the regulator should have the flexibility to decide the appropriate fee. However, what would be different is that there would be some real control over the fee levels. If there are people who are considered to have consistently ''overcharged'', it is unlikely that they would find themselves on the register in the first place. There are a number of safeguards available.

Photo of Nigel Waterson Nigel Waterson Conservative, Eastbourne

Does the Under-Secretary agree that the issue is not so much about the tariff—that reminds me of that old taxi tariff that hangs by the Members' Entrance—but about the time that a trustee puts in, and, in the case of a professional trustee, how many staff are involved in dealing with a problem? It is more the overall charge, rather than the hourly, daily or weekly charge, that makes the difference.

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

The hon. Gentleman makes his point well; the charge has to be proportionate and take account of the amount of work and the circumstances involved, as I said.

I think that the hon. Member for Eastbourne broadly supports our proposals. I think that he accepts that we have to make the changes, because in many cases things are not working properly: often, when an independent trustee should be appointed, no one is. In other cases, the appointments of independent trustees are inappropriate and impose on a fund charges disproportionate to the need.

Photo of Nigel Waterson Nigel Waterson Conservative, Eastbourne

The Under-Secretary is showing signs of reaching his peroration, so I will just remind him of my point about the basis of charging the employer or the scheme, or both.

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

I apologise. As the hon. Gentleman may remember, we discussed that in our earlier debates. The employer could still be in a financially buoyant position, and it would then be appropriate that the

charges should fall there. Alternatively, the employer might be effectively insolvent, but the scheme could still have funds available. The regulator will have to judge where the charges ought to fall, in the circumstances in which the scheme finds itself. That is not something that we can put in the Bill, but we must give it as a power to the regulator.

Photo of Nigel Waterson Nigel Waterson Conservative, Eastbourne

Just to be clear, is this a question of the resources of the payer rather than of any other considerations, such as who might be more to blame for the mess that they are all in?

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

The regulator would have to take account of those factors as well. Perhaps I should have included that in the list of circumstances that would be considered. Certainly that would be a factor, in addition to the ability to pay.

Amendment agreed to.

Amendment made: No. 572, in

schedule 11, page 229, line 18, at end insert—

' In section 178 (power to make regulations as to the persons to be regarded as trustees or managers of schemes for certain purposes), in paragraph (b) for ''to 26C'' substitute ''to 26''.'.—[Mr. Pond.]

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

I beg to move amendment No. 542, in

schedule 11, page 229, line 18, at end insert—

' In section 192(2) (provisions extending to Northern Ireland)—

(a) for ''section 145 (except subsections (4)'' substitute ''section 145 (except subsections (4A) to (4C)'', and

(b) at the appropriate place insert—

''section 145A,''.'.

Photo of Mr Win Griffiths Mr Win Griffiths Labour, Bridgend

With this it will be convenient to discuss the following:

Government amendments Nos. 546 to 548 and 540.

Government new clause 23—The Pensions Ombudsman and Deputy Pensions Ombudsmen.

Government new clause 24—Jurisdiction.

Government new clause 25—Investigations.

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

The amendments and new clauses all relate to the pensions ombudsman. For convenience I will discuss them as a group, although for clarity I will deal with them in order.

New clause 23 amends existing legislation about the pensions ombudsman's tenure. It provides that he can be removed from office only on the grounds set out in his terms of appointment. It increases his independence by enhancing his security of tenure and obviates any suggestion that the Secretary of State can remove him from office for no good reason. Hon. Members will remember that in our earlier deliberations on the PPF ombudsman there was a concern that at some future stage there might be what I think was described as a maverick Secretary of State, who might act unreasonably in removing the ombudsman. We expect that to occur only should there be a change of Government—some time in the next century—but it is important that we put the safeguard in the Bill in any case. The amendment is in line with the terms of office of the pensions regulator

tribunal, which have been considered by the Committee.

New clause 23 also extends existing provisions to allow for the creation of one or more posts of deputy pensions ombudsman. The spotlight on pensions over the past few years has inevitably led to a significant increase in cases coming to the ombudsman. Therefore, proper assistance and support in his work is particularly important now. The new clause will permit one or more deputies to be appointed to carry out all the duties of the pensions ombudsman either in his absence in the event of a vacancy or from time to time to tackle any outstanding casework. The deputy will be able to make determinations in all the cases that currently fall within the pensions ombudsman's jurisdiction.

Subsections (4) and (5) of the new clause also contain the normal disqualification provisions for political appointments in the House of Commons Disqualification Act 1975 and the Northern Ireland Assembly Disqualification Act 1975. That is another disappointment for the hon. Member for Eastbourne, who will not be able to boast at the golf club of being deputy pensions ombudsman, any more than he could about being deputy PPF ombudsman—and since we have just learned that he does not play golf, that would be an additional handicap.

New clause 24 will allow one-off acts of administration to be brought within the pensions ombudsman's jurisdiction. I should explain that that is being introduced because in the case of Britannic v. Pensions Ombudsman, the Court of Appeal distinguished between carrying out an act of administration in connection with a pension scheme and being concerned with its administration. The Court of Appeal held that a person who carried out one or more acts of administration in connection with a pension scheme might fall outside the ombudsman's jurisdiction because they would not be a person responsible for the administration of that scheme. That is confusing and disempowering for anyone who has a complaint arising from an act of administration carried out, for example, by an insurance company at the request of the scheme administrators, and means that the only option for such persons is to seek redress in the courts.

The amendment enables regulations to specify that a person responsible for an act or acts of administration may be deemed to be responsible for the administration of a pension scheme for the purpose of the complaint being made or a dispute being referred to the pensions ombudsman about his or her actions or failure to act. It does not have retrospective effect, as that would be unfair on those who carry out acts of administration and whose actions cannot at present be complained about. If the clause had retrospective effect, those persons would be subject to investigations in relation to acts that occurred at a time when they assumed—and would have been entitled to assume—that they did not fall within the ombudsman's jurisdiction.

Amendments Nos. 546, 547 and 548 are simply a technical referral of the existing legislation enabling regulations to be made in respect of the ombudsman's

jurisdiction where third parties are concerned. Despite extensive consultation with the pensions industry over several years, a workable solution has not been found that would enable the pensions ombudsman to deal with those cases without unacceptable delays and costs to pension schemes, and possibly to scheme members themselves. It is therefore appropriate that section 54 should be repealed. In any cases where third parties' rights might be affected by a decision of the pensions ombudsman, it is open to the complainant to seek redress through the courts. I ask hon. Members to accept the amendment.

Photo of Nigel Waterson Nigel Waterson Conservative, Eastbourne

I agree that the Government amendments are drafting amendments, technical in nature, and we have no problems with them. On new clause 24, I do not profess to understand the distinction drawn by the lords justices in the Britannic case, although, having once been tangentially involved in a case about a missing comma involving a ship charter party that went all the way to the House of Lords, I know that anything is possible. This is clearly something that exercises the ombudspeople's community; when ombudspeople meet—at the golf club or anywhere else—it is something that they often talk about. There are more and more of these people—so many, indeed, that they will soon be able to have their own club, and I am sure that the Under-Secretary will be given honorary membership. I cannot profess to second-guess the draftsman, but if the new clause does deal with the Britannic case, it is addressing a serious issue that needs to be addressed.

In new clause 23 we are back with our new best friend, the deputy ombudsman—in this case, the deputy pensions ombudsman. I am slightly losing track, but the drift of Government policy, if that word does not give it too much of a sense of direction—

Photo of Nigel Waterson Nigel Waterson Conservative, Eastbourne

Is attention to my lecture beginning to recede?

As we debated on Tuesday, the drift of Government policy is to have, at least initially, the existing Act for ombudsmen to apply to the PPF ombudsman. The new clause underlines the concerns that I expressed the other day about the deputy PPF ombudsman being activated. I do not want to rerun that debate, but to refresh the Committee's memory we need to look at proposed new section 145A(4). The deputy pensions ombudsman could be activated only if there were vacancy, which makes sense, or if the ombudsman is unable to discharge his functions—perhaps he has gone mad or is ill—and, crucially,

''at any other time, with the consent of the Secretary of State.''

As I argued the other day, I cannot understand why if there is to be a deputy—which is a sensible idea if there is going to be an ombudsman in any context—they should be put behind a glass screen that says, ''To be broken when needed, but only by the Secretary of State.'' That is taking away from the ombudsman—whichever one I am talking about—the flexibility to be able to draw on the deputies. I use the plural because now they have begun to trickle out, there might be more than one, and we might be looking at a bunch of

them. The ombudsman should be able to draw on the deputies as needed to give flexibility to his role, particularly if he is now to have a dual role in dealing with the PPF stuff as well. Without laboriously returning to the previous arguments about the PPF, may I ask the Under-Secretary to say that he will rethink whether more flexibility can be built in for the ombudsman to bring to bear the energies and talents of the deputy?

Photo of Mr Chris Pond Mr Chris Pond Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department for Work and Pensions 2:30 pm, 22nd April 2004

As we have heard throughout the Committee proceedings, my hon. Friend the Minister is happy and concerned to reflect on all the issues. He reflected a great deal before we tabled the new clauses and amendments, and I am sure that he will reflect again.

Let me explain why the Secretary of State can determine other circumstances, or, in the wording of the Bill, why that can be done

''with the consent of the Secretary of State.''

It is important that we recognise that the deputy ombudsman will have the same powers as the pensions ombudsman himself or herself. It is also important that the deputy has the same independence and impartiality as the pensions ombudsman. Questions could be asked about his independence were he to carry out his duties only when asked to do so by the pensions ombudsman, which is why we have provided the flexibility of allowing the deputy to step in

''with the consent of the Secretary of State.''

It is a back-stop, which, to some extent, gives more parliamentary accountability to the whole process.

On the Britannic case and new clause 24, I assure the hon. Gentleman that there is an issue at stake which involves individual acts of administration that are, at the moment, outside the scope of a complaint that can be brought to the ombudsman. In those cases, members can only use the courts to pursue a complaint against individual acts of administration, whereas somebody who is responsible for the administration of a scheme as a whole comes within the remit of the ombudsman. As with the question about particular types of administration, such as the example that I gave in connection with insurance, we need to give people the opportunity to use the ombudsman process to pursue a complaint rather than require them to go through the expensive business of going through the courts.

Amendment agreed to.

Amendments made: No. 94, in

schedule 11, page 229, line 20, at end insert—

' In section 4 (suspension orders), in subsections (3) and (5) for ''class'' substitute ''description''.'.

No. 573, in

schedule 11, page 229, line 21, leave out from 'trustees)' to end of line 22 and insert '—

(a) in subsection (1) omit ''a trustee of such a scheme ceases to be a trustee'', and

(b) in subsection (2) for ''section 23(1)(b)'' in both places substitute ''section 23(1)''.'.

No. 95, in

schedule 11, page 229, line 22, at end insert—

' In section 9 (removal and appointment of trustees: property), after ''exercise'' insert ''by order''.'.

No. 574, in

schedule 11, page 229, line 26, at end insert—

' In section 22 (circumstances in which independent trustee provisions apply), in subsections (1) and (3) for ''to 26A'', in each place, substitute ''to 26''.

In section 25 (appointment and powers of independent trustees: further provisions)—

(a) in subsection (1) for ''section 23(1)(b)'' substitute ''section 23(1)'',

(b) in subsection (2)—

(i) after ''a scheme'' insert ''and there is an independent trustee of the scheme appointed under section 23(1)'', and

(ii) omit from ''but if'' to the end,

(c) in subsection (3) for '', no independent trustee of the scheme may'' substitute ''and there is an independent trustee of the scheme appointed under section 23(1), the independent trustee may not'', and

(d) in subsection (4)—

(i) for ''section 23(1)(b)'' substitute ''section 23(1)'', and

(ii) after ''person'' insert ''(within the meaning of section 23(3))''.

In section 26 (insolvency practitioner or official receiver to give information to trustees), in subsection (1) after ''a scheme'' insert ''by virtue of subsection (1) of that section''.

Sections 26A to 26C are hereby repealed.'.

No. 96, in

schedule 11, page 229, line 28, at end insert—

' In section 29 (persons disqualified for being trustees), in subsection (5) for ''class'' substitute ''description''.'.

No. 97, in

schedule 11, page 229, line 29, after 'consequences)' insert '—

(a) in subsection (2), after ''exercise'' insert ''by order'', and

(b) '.

No. 567, in

schedule 11, page 229, line 32, leave out paragraph 14.

No. 98, in

schedule 11, page 230, line 41, at end insert—

' In section 69(2) (power to make provision in relation to applications under that section)—

(a) for ''about the manner of dealing with'' substitute ''requiring'', and

(b) after ''this section'' insert ''to meet prescribed requirements''.'.

No. 99, in

schedule 11, page 230, line 41, at end insert—

' In section 71A(4)(d) (power to make provision in relation to applications for the purposes of that section)—

(a) for ''before such time as may be prescribed'' substitute ''before an application is made for the purposes of this section'', and

(b) for ''an application for the purposes of this section'' substitute ''the application''.'.

No. 575, in

schedule 11, page 231, line 32, at end insert—

' In section 118 (powers to modify Part 1 of the Pensions Act 1995)—

(a) in subsection (2) for ''to 26C'' substitute ''to 26'', and

(b) omit subsection (3).'.

No. 100, in

schedule 11, page 231, line 42, after '''Authority'',' insert—

'( ) in subsection (3) after ''may'' insert ''by direction'','.—[Mr. Pond.]

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

I beg to move amendment No. 512, in

schedule 11, page 232, leave out lines 14 and 15 and insert—

'39 (1) Paragraph 1 of Schedule 1 (application of enactments relating to occupational trust schemes to certain stakeholder schemes) is amended as follows.

(2) In sub-paragraph (2), in paragraph (b)—'.

Photo of Mr Win Griffiths Mr Win Griffiths Labour, Bridgend

With this it will be convenient to discuss Government amendment No. 513.

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

The amendments update the Welfare Reform and Pensions Act 1999 to ensure that trust-based personal stakeholder pension schemes are subject to the fraud compensation policies that we have discussed. Such schemes will also be subject to the provisions on gathering information set out in clauses 152 to 165. This is another example of the Government maintaining consistency of approach with the Pension Compensation Board's current coverage of pension schemes, although there have been no fraud compensation payments to stakeholder pension schemes to date.

Without bringing those schemes under the PPF umbrella, they would not have the formal protection that they currently enjoy. Due to the unusual nature of the schemes, we propose to apply the clauses on fraud compensation and information gathering with modifications that will be prescribed by the Secretary of State. That will enable us to remove aspects of those clauses that do not apply in the case of stakeholder pension schemes because, for example, they have no employer. It will also enable us to introduce new requirements in the event of them being needed.

Trust-based stakeholder pension schemes are rare. There are currently five, all of which have fewer than 400 members. However, as they have received PCB protection, we want that to continue under the PPF. The appeal and review rights in relation to full compensation will apply to those schemes in the same way as they apply to occupational schemes.

Photo of Steve Webb Steve Webb Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

Are the trust-based stakeholder pension schemes the same as the individual pension accounts, which the Treasury launched but which never really took off?

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

I am seeking inspiration on that; I think that it will take so long in coming that I had better write to the hon. Gentleman.

Amendment agreed to.

Amendments made: No. 568, in

schedule 11, page 232, line 15, at end insert—

'( ) in sub-paragraph (ii) for ''31'' substitute ''30'','.

No. 513, in

schedule 11, page 232, line 20, at end insert—

'( ) After that paragraph insert ''; and

(c) Chapters 4 and 5 of Part 2 of the Pensions Act 2004 (fraud compensation and information gathering).''

( ) After sub-paragraph (5) insert—

''(6) Chapters 4 and 5 of Part 2 of the Pensions Act 2004 (as applied by sub-paragraph (1)) shall have effect with such modifications as the Secretary of State may prescribe by regulations.''.'—[Mr. Pond.]

Schedule 11, as amended, agreed to.