Regulations modifying application of Part 1

Part of Pension Schemes Bill [Lords] – in a Public Bill Committee at 12:15 pm on 9 February 2017.

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Photo of Alex Cunningham Alex Cunningham Shadow Minister (Work and Pensions) (Pensions) 12:15, 9 February 2017

The clause allows the Secretary of State to adjust the range of pension schemes to which part 1 of the Bill applies, either to extend the regime or to disapply it in whole or in part. As it stands, the clause is an extraordinarily wide provision. This almost turns on its head the normal approach, which is to determine policy first and then to legislate. We accept the importance of having flexibility to deal with the changing models that an agile sector might bring forward, but in scrutinising this legislation we need to have the opportunity to test the boundaries of that flexibility.

It appears that we will not now get further details of the regulations before the Bill leaves the House, despite what the Constitution Committee has said to the Government. As I mentioned earlier, that is a real shame. I therefore have a few questions for the Minister. The Minister in the other place suggested that the clause would be used to disapply some or all of the provisions for a mixed benefit master scheme. Given the amendments tabled in this place in relation to mixed benefit schemes, can the Government outline how exactly this clause will be used? Which schemes will be carved out of the regulation, to borrow a phrase from the Minister?

I know that additional voluntary contributions and non-associated multi-employer schemes were raised in the other place, but can the Government also confirm whether they plan to carve out schemes on an individual scheme basis or exclude them on a broad scheme basis through the application of more general principles?