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Occupational Pension Schemes

Volume 454: debated on Thursday 14 December 2006

I have today placed a copy of the pensions regulator’s latest discussion document “Abandonment of Defined Benefit Pension Schemes” in the Library of the House. The pensions regulator’s statutory objectives require it to take steps to tackle threats to pension scheme members’ benefits. This consultation document sets out how the regulator proposes to regulate situations in which employers seek to transfer pension schemes to less secure arrangements in order to reduce their financial liabilities. In particular, the regulator considers that it is unlikely to be in the best interests of members for the link with an employer of substance to be broken without the employer meeting the cost of buying out the benefits with a regulated insurer.

The Government are determined that members of defined benefit pension schemes should have confidence that their pensions are secure, and that their employers will meet their commitments. Effective action by the pensions regulator makes a major contribution to member confidence and the security of their pensions, and I welcome this discussion document setting out the regulator’s plans in this important area.