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Pensions Reform

Volume 461: debated on Monday 4 June 2007

We have made significant progress on long-term reform of the pensions system, which began back in November 2002 with the establishment of the Pensions Commission. The Pensions Bill is now entering the Committee stage in the Lords, and last December we published our proposals to transform the culture of under-saving in the UK for millions of people by introducing personal accounts.

But does the Minister agree that, if pension reform is to be worth the name, there must be a strong restoration of confidence in the procedures to prevent people who have lost pensions from sustaining those losses? He referred to the Bill going through the Lords. Will he guarantee that if the Lords pass amendments on Wednesday that will ensure that those losses are made up, he and his fellow Ministers will not ensure that his hon. Friends are whipped into voting against those amendments and against their conscience?

Here comes the cavalry to rescue the Opposition Front-Bench team from not having managed to get a question out earlier. The Opposition’s protestations about a cross-party agreement behind their amendment are starting to fall apart. Did they see that my right hon. Friend the Member for Birkenhead (Mr. Field) wrote recently that the amendment is a dodgy amendment—

The hon. Gentleman obviously did not explain to him the implication of what he was saying, because my right hon. Friend the Member for Birkenhead is not in favour of using unclaimed pension funds to—

Order. We want to hear what the Minister has to say. The right hon. Member for Birkenhead (Mr. Field) can speak for himself.