Occupational Pension Schemes(Minimum Funding Requirement and Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2002

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Mr. Webb: For the avoidance of doubt, does the hon. Gentleman share my view that the Committee would be grateful for some indication of what information the Department holds to get beyond the one in six figure on the overall position of funding and the types of schemes that will be affected by the regulations?

Mr. Boswell: I do share the hon. Gentleman's view. The more information we can obtain on that without invidiously identifying a scheme or producing material that is given undue importance if it is less certain or more tentative, the better. The more we all know about the matter—frankly, it is a closed book to most people, including many hon. Members—the better.

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The Minister did acknowledge the wider implications. She set them in a context that I felt was, perhaps, a little complacent—I am tempted to say that that is almost part of the job of a Minister. There are some problems; we can argue about when they started and we can express concern about how deep they are and when they might finish, but we shall not resolve them today.

We have made a good start with this set of regulations, but it is the beginning both of a long process of technical changes that I hope will make things simpler and of an awareness of the industry, its sensitivities and the difficulties that it faces. Discussions need to continue up to, including and

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probably after the passage of substantive legislation. If we have to spend time on that, it will be worth while; it will be in the interests of many millions of occupational pension holders and more.

The matter will continue to redound to the incomes, comfort and happiness of retired people long after, I suspect, all of us have quit this House.

Question put and agreed to.


    That the Committee has considered the Occupational Pension Schemes (Minimum Funding Requirement and Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2002 (S.I. 2002, No. 380).

Committee rose at twenty-nine minutes to Six o'clock.

The following Members attended the Committee:
Widdecombe, Miss Ann (Chairman)
Boswell, Mr.
Duncan, Mr. Peter
Eagle, Maria
Ewing, Annabelle
Francis, Dr.
Hall, Patrick
Miliband, Mr.
Prentice, Bridget
Purnell, James
Turner, Mr. Neil
Tynan, Mr.
Webb, Steve
Woolas, Mr.

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