Clause 57

Pensions Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 3:47 pm on 31st January 2008.

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Trustee corporation

Photo of Nigel Waterson Nigel Waterson Shadow Minister, Work & Pensions

I beg to move amendment No. 32, in clause 57, page 27, line 12, leave out subsection (3).

I have a short point, which is as much asking a question as speaking to the amendment. Subsection (3) refers the trustee corporation as a body corporate, not as having any Crown immunity or privilege. I understand the argument for that, but only a short while ago we had a debate about relieving individual trustees and others of their possible legal liabilities in certain circumstances. I am not sure how that chimes in with this aspect of the Bill, but I know that the Minister will enlighten me.

Photo of Mike O'Brien Mike O'Brien Minister of State (Pension Reform), Department for Work and Pensions

The trustee corporation will be a non-departmental public body, which will ensure independence and accountability. If the trustee corporation was a Crown body, its staff would be civil servants and thus less independent. Standard practice, therefore, is for bodies that are not part of a Department not to be considered as part of the Crown and thus not to enjoy any immunity or privileges of the Crown. A trustee corporation will run the scheme in the sole interest of its members and independently of the Government, so its loyalty will be not to the Crown, but to the members. That means that it is more important for the trustee corporation to be without Crown status. On that basis, I hope that the hon. Gentleman is content.

Photo of Nigel Waterson Nigel Waterson Shadow Minister, Work & Pensions

I am grateful for that, and I beg to ask leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 57 ordered to stand part of the Bill.