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Pensions Equality

Volume 210: debated on Thursday 25 June 1992

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To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will estimate the saving to the British pensions industry of the protocol on the Barber judgment restricting equality of pensions to new claimants after 17 May 1990, expressing this saving as an annual amount; and what is the basis on which the calculation was made.

The Government Actuary has estimated that the costs for United Kingdom industry could amount to around £50 billion, using his 1987 survey of occupational pensions and interpreting retrospection as meaning equal treatment for all periods of pensionable service before 17 May 1990, including the recalculation of existing benefits in payment, and equalisation is based on the better terms available to either sex. Allowing for the normal practice of spreading the costs over a period of up to 15 years, the annual cost would be about £4 billion. In addition to the protocol, the Government are a party to supporting the Coloroll case to seek confirmation from the European Court of Justice that the Barber judgment does not apply to pensionable service before the date of that ruling, 17 May 1990.

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what is the timing of the discussion period relating to the equalisation of the pension age for men and women; and when a decision is expected.

I refer my hon. Friend to my reply to the hon. Member for Denton and Reddish (Mr. Bennett) on 8 June at column 53.