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Pensions: Long-serving Employees

Volume 615: debated on Monday 17 October 2016

We have a well-established regime of checks and balances in place, for example the Pension Protection Fund and the Pensions Regulator. The Government keep this framework for pensions under constant review, and amend it when evidence demonstrates that such change is needed.

As I have stated previously, one of the welcome provisions in the Pensions Act 2014 was the raising of the Pension Protection Fund cap. Will my hon. Friend update the House on when that clause might be implemented, because two years on it has still not been put in place and pensioners in my constituency are suffering the consequences?

Let me first acknowledge the work that my hon. Friend has done to ensure that the long service cap was established. Pensions legislation is, as he knows, a very complex and technical area, and it is important that the secondary legislation for the cap operates as it was intended in all circumstances. This process can take time. However, I can assure him that this has been a priority for me from my first day in office. As I recently announced, I intend the long service cap for the PPF to come into force in April 2017.

My own personal occupational pension scheme has just been reduced. It is not a problem for me personally with my generous parliamentary salary, but it is symptomatic of the problems facing occupational pension schemes and pensioners. Is not the real long-term solution to establish a compulsory universal state earnings-related scheme for all, with defined contributions and defined benefits?

As the hon. Gentleman knows, this was looked into by the Turner review and by many people and institutions since. Automatic enrolment is in place, which is a great step forward. Millions of people have now enrolled. I hope that, as time evolves, this will become the main form of pension for people other than the new state pension.