British Steel Pension Scheme: Transfers — [Mr George Howarth in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 10:18 am on 10th April 2019.

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Photo of John Glen John Glen Minister of State (Treasury) (City), The Economic Secretary to the Treasury 10:18 am, 10th April 2019

I have listened carefully to the hon. Gentleman’s interventions, and he is right to say that 6.6% of the 122,000 individuals who had those pensions did transfer out, and that, in general, the default option would not be to transfer out of a DB scheme. There is work going on to develop pathways. I am not clear, given that it is not my direct area of responsibility, about the status of that work. I think, however, that there is a challenge, in the context of the policy on freedoms that is now well under way, about how to reconcile that freedom with making the decisions in question. Perhaps I might pivot over to consider the DC schemes. I think what is happening is that many people decide to take the 25% tax-free lump sum and then do not necessarily make appropriate, or the best, decisions on the remainder of that pot of money. Work is being done on that, but with respect to the specificity of the default option, I cannot give the hon. Gentleman a definitive response now.

I think we are moving to a point where there will be default pathways that people will need to be advised on when they take advice. I think that is probably a sensible compromise that deals with the fact that, in some instances, not coming out of the DB scheme would not be the right thing to do. The hon. Gentleman will agree about that, although he is also perfectly correct to say that, generally, not coming out would be the right thing to do. There is work to be done, but I think progress is being made, and I acknowledge the sensible point he has raised.