Clause 19 - Introduction and definition

Part of Pension Schemes Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 3:45 pm on 28th October 2014.

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Photo of Nigel Mills Nigel Mills Conservative, Amber Valley 3:45 pm, 28th October 2014

I think there is a point, once someone has retired, at which they have little chance to replace income that they lose. If they are absolutely reliant on the £12,000 that they think they will receive for life from their collective DC scheme and that is cut to £10,000, they have no way of replacing that lost £2,000. They really are exposed. Until they retire, however, they have the scope to extend their working life or whatever else. I think that that is the right situation.

I suspect that none of us fancies being Pensions Minister the first time one of the schemes has to reduce in-payment pensions. There will be a huge outcry, and everyone will be saying, “What on earth is this? How can you reduce payments in retirement? I never thought that would happen. Surely the taxpayer must ride in to the rescue and protect all those whose pensions have been slashed.” We need to get this right from the start so that if and when that happens—the experience in Holland was that that had to happen—people either know that it is a risk, or the material that they should have read made it clear that it would be a risk. I do not think that we can ever say that people will ever read or understand everything. We need to get the system right from the start and move slowly into it, so that we do not end up with a load of poor-quality schemes coming into existence for people who simply do not understand what is happening.