Clause 47 - Commencement

Pensions Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 4:00 pm on 11th July 2013.

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Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.

Photo of Steve Webb Steve Webb The Minister of State, Department for Work and Pensions

As is apparent, the clause sets out when the provisions in the Bill will commence. Subsections (1) and (2) provide that the Bill will come into force on a date the Secretary of State specifies by order. Subsection (3) provides that part 5 of the Bill will come into force on the day when the Act is passed. If clause 47 were not brought into force on the day of Royal Assent, we would not have the power commenced to bring it into force by order, because it would not be in force. I hope that that makes sense.

Subsection (4) specifies that the following will commence two months after the Act receives Royal Assent: part 2, relating to pensionable age; sections 30 and 31, which relate to incentives to transfer pension rights; section 37, which is the penalty notices; sections 41 and 42, which are the statutory money purchase illustrations and the regulator’s objectives; and paragraph 30(2) of schedule 13.

For the avoidance of doubt, subsection (5) provides that the single-tier pension will come into force on 6 April 2016, unless it, or any provision of it, has already been brought into force by the Secretary of State under subsection (1). Under subsection (6), the Secretary of State can amend subsection (5) to change the start date and specify a later date instead, and amend references to April 2016 in part 1 of the Bill.

Most transitional provision has been drafted into the primary legislation, but we may need some provision on commencement; for example, if, as we suspect may be the case, bereavement benefits are to be changed a year later than single-tier comes in. The Bill was originally drafted on the premise that both would happen at the same time, but, if not, we may need transitional provision to account for the interim treatment of category B pensions. Subsection (7) gives the Secretary of State the power to make such provision.

I hope that that helps to clarify the different start dates and different sections of the Bill. I commend it to the Committee.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 47 accordingly ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 48 agreed to.