GMP bill progresses to report stage

The report stage for the private members' bill on guaranteed minimum pensions (GMP) has been scheduled for 25 February 2022, with the government also confirming that it will consult on any changes if the bill is passed.

The Pension Schemes (Conversion of Guaranteed Minimum Pensions) Bill passed the committee stage on 2 February, with MPs to consider further amendments in the House of Commons on 25 February 2022.

The bill contains a number of amendments intended to allow regulations to clarify and streamline the GMP conversion process, including clarifying that conversion applies to both earners and survivors, and clarifying which employers need to give consent.

It would also enable clarification of the minimum survivor’s pension required and remove the need to notify HMRC.

The government previously expressed support for the bill as it progressed to the committee stage, with Pensions Minister, Guy Opperman, thanking MP Margaret Ferrier, who introduced the bill, for the work she has done.

The latest committee debate also saw Shadow Pensions Minister, Matt Rodda, express Labour's support for the measures in the bill “to simplify a complicated system and make it much fairer”.

However, Rodda raised queries about communication, consultation, the requirement to notify HMRC, and the wider imbalances between men’s and women’s pensions.

In particular, Rodda raised concerns as to how the changes are being communicated to those affected.

In addition to this, he argued that the bill must to commit to “full and timely consultation with experts in the industry and others before the government introduce the regulations".

“Obviously, we welcome the bill but while it is generally positive, sadly some people may be in line to lose out compared with previous expectations,” he said. “They may need time to plan and adjust.”

However, Opperman confirmed that the government will consult on these matters, emphasising that "it is unquestionably the case that this will be treated like a normal act of Parliament, with all due representations".

“There will be a full consultation among industry to which, obviously, opposition parties and all parts of industry can make representations; there will then follow regulations, which will be debated in this house,” he stated.

Opperman also confirmed that he would write to Rodda to provide further details on other queries raised in relation to the bill, including gender equality.

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