Govt seeks to overturn Pension Schemes Bill amendment defeats

The government is seeking to overturn the four Pension Schemes Bill amendment votes it lost in the House of Lords in the summer by removing them from the bill.

In a House of Commons Notices of Amendments publication, Pensions Minster, Guy Opperman, outlined the removal of the House of Lords’ amendments.

The amendments relate to commercial pensions dashboards, transaction facilities on dashboards, reporting on fairness to members of collective defined contribution (CDC) schemes, and open defined benefit (DB) schemes getting special treatment.

The government has removed an amendment that would have prevented commercial dashboards being created for one year once the Money and Pensions Service’s public dashboard has been established.

It also took out the amendment excluding facilities for engaging in financial transaction activities on dashboards.

Pensions Minister, Guy Opperman, stated the change to CDC fairness reporting would “remove provision requiring a notice from The Pensions Regulator (TPR) to collective money purchase [CDC] scheme trustees to include a requirement to assess the extent to which the scheme is operating in a manner fair to all members”.

The removal of an amendment relating to a separate regulatory approach for open DB schemes was also outlined.

The Commons will vote on Opperman’s amendments, which are likely to pass due to the Conservative Party’s 80 seat majority.

However, the final version of the bill must be agreed by both the Commons and the Lords, so it will ‘ping pong’ between the houses until there is unanimity.

Commenting on the removal of the amendments, LCP partner and former Pensions Minister, Steve Webb, said: “Perhaps not surprisingly, the government is planning to reverse all of the defeats that it suffered in the House of Lords.

“But members of the Lords were expressing real concerns about important issues such as the rules for open DB schemes and the way the pension dashboard will work.

“If the government insists on rejecting these amendments, it should still set out how it plans to address these concerns.”

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