Clause 83

Part of Pensions Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 11:00 am on 19th February 2008.

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Photo of Mike O'Brien Mike O'Brien Minister of State (Pension Reform), Department for Work and Pensions 11:00 am, 19th February 2008

It is, indeed, of enormous help.

As far as I am aware, the provisions will have broadly the same effect, although divorce law is devolved in certain respects in Scotland and therefore there are some differences. Qualifying agreements are used in Scotland, but not in England and Wales. At present, couples in Scotland can make a qualifying agreement to set out how a pension is to be shared. We seek to extend that to pension compensation sharing. Qualifying agreements differ from court orders in that they are not orders of the court. However, they still activate pension sharing. The mechanism for the implementation of a qualifying agreement is to effect pension sharing, as set out in section 28 of the Welfare Reform and Pensions Act 1999. Once the agreement has been made in the prescribed form in Scotland, it has the same effect with regard to pension sharing as a court order. That seems to be the main difference.