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Lord Lucas moved Amendment No. 192B:


Page 85, line 21, leave out from beginning to ("amended") in line 22 and insert ("Sections 146 to 151 of the Pension Schemes Act 1993 are").

The noble Lord said: In moving this amendment, I wish to speak at the same time to Amendments Nos. 192C to 192G. The purpose of Clause 136 is to extend the jurisdiction of the Pensions Ombudsman along the lines recommended by the PLRC so that he will be able to investigate complaints and disputes arising between the trustees or managers of an occupational pension scheme and the associated employer, and between trustees or managers of different occupational pension schemes. It will also bring into primary legislation an existing power, currently contained in regulations, to allow the Pensions Ombudsman to consider complaints and disputes arising between an individual and the employer.

Disagreements between trustees and employers and between trustees of different schemes can often result in lengthy and costly litigation. We believe it sensible that, as an alternative to court action, the Ombudsman should be given the power to consider such cases.

The drafting of the clause inadvertently brought employers of personal pension holders within the Ombudsman's jurisdiction. References to personal pensions are, however, inappropriate. Employers do not administer personal pensions and so cannot be properly described as managers. Personal pensions are contracts between individuals and the pension provider and complaints or disputes which arise between them are already within the scope of the Pensions Ombudsman's jurisdiction. Amendments Nos. 192C to 192F, therefore, remove inappropriate references to personal pensions to restore the position to the original policy intention. Amendment No. 192G further clarifies this by defining those responsible for the management of a personal pension scheme as the trustees or managers. Amendment No. 192B will give consistency with the other provisions of the Bill by specifying exactly which sections of the Pension Schemes Act 1993 will be amended by Clause 136. I beg to move.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Lord Lucas moved Amendments Nos. 192C to 192G:


Page 85, line 35, leave out ("or personal").
Page 85, line 40, leave out ("or personal").
Page 86, line 9, leave out ("or personal").
Page 86, line 23, leave out ("or personal").
Page 86, line 29, at end insert:

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("( ) For the purposes of this Part, a person is responsible for the management of a personal pension scheme if he is a trustee or manager of the scheme.").

On Question, amendments agreed to.

Clause 136, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 137 agreed to.

Clause 138 [Disclosing information to the Authority]:

Lord Lucas moved Amendment No. 192H:


Page 88, line 2, leave out from ("to") to the end of line 10 and insert ("any person to whom subsection (6) applies, if the Ombudsman considers that the disclosure would enable or assist that person to discharge any of his functions.
(6) This subsection applies to the following—
(a) the Regulatory Authority,
(b) the Pensions Compensation Board,
(c) the Registrar,
(d) any department of the Government (including the government of Northern Ireland),
(e) the Bank of England,
(f) the Friendly Societies Commission,
(g) the Building Societies Commission,
(h) an inspector appointed by the Secretary of State under Part XIV of the Companies Act 1985 or section 94 or 177 of the Financial Services Act 1986,
(j) an inspector appointed by the Department of Economic Development in Northern Ireland under Part XV of the Companies (Northern Ireland) Order 1986,
(k) a person authorised under section 106 of the Financial Services Act 1986 to exercise powers conferred by section 105 of that Act,
(l) a designated agency or transferee body or the competent authority within the meaning of that Act, and
(m) a recognised self-regulating organisation, recognised professional body, recognised investment exchange or recognised clearing house, within the meaning of that Act.
(7) The Secretary of State may by order—
(a) amend subsection (6) by adding any person or removing any person for the time being specified in that subsection, or
(b) restrict the circumstances in which, or impose conditions subject to which, disclosure may be made to any person for the time being specified in that subsection."").

The noble Lord said: In moving this amendment, I wish to speak also to Amendment No. 192J. The purpose of these amendments is to clarify those regulatory bodies to which the Ombudsman may pass information and to extend the current protection of the Ombudsman from the law of defamation. I beg to move.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Lord Lucas moved Amendment No. 192J:


Page 88, line 13, leave out ("to the Regulatory Authority").

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 138, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 139 agreed to.

Lord Lucas moved Amendment No. 193:


After Clause 139, insert the following new clause:

Modification and winding up of occupational and personal schemes

(". Sections 136 to 141 (modification) and 142 and 143 (winding up) of the Pension Schemes Act 1993 are repealed.").

The noble Lord said: I spoke to this amendment with Amendment No. 172. I beg to move.

21 Feb 1995 : Column 1095

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 140 [Annual increase in rate of personal pension]:

[Amendments Nos. 193A and 193B not moved.]

Clause 140 agreed to.

Clause 141 agreed to.

Clause 142 [Power to reject notice choosing appropriate personal pension scheme]:

[Amendment No. 193C not moved.]

Clause 142 agreed to.

Clause 143 [Levy]:

[Amendments Nos. 194 to 195ZB not moved.]

Clause 143 agreed to.

Clause 144 agreed to.

Lord Lucas moved Amendment No. 195A:


After Clause 144, insert the following new clause:

Equal treatment in relation to official pensions

.—(1) Section 3 of the Pensions Increase Act 1971 (qualifying conditions for pensions increase) is amended as follows.
(2) In subsection (2) (c), "is a woman who" is omitted.
(3) In subsection (10)—
(a) for "woman is in receipt of a pension" there is substituted "person is in receipt of a pension the whole or any part of", and
(b) for "woman and that pension" there is substituted "person and that pension or part".
(4) In subsection (11)—
(a) for "woman's" there is substituted "person's", and
(b) for "woman" there is substituted "person",
and accordingly for "she" there is substituted "he".
(5) This section shall have effect, and shall be deemed to have had effect, in relation to pensions commencing after 17th May 1990, and in relation to so much of any such pension as is referable to service on or after that date.").

The noble Lord said: In moving this amendment, I wish to speak at the same time to Amendment No. 199A. These amendments remedy a small inequality in the way public service pensions are protected against inflation.

Public service pensions are increased in line with inflation under the provisions of the Pensions (Increase) Act 1971. Pensions for widows and widowers, children's or ill health pensions, and pensions for those aged over 55, are protected against inflation. Under age 55 no increases are made, but when the pensioner reaches that age the full value of the pension at retirement is restored.

An exception to the rule that no pensions increase is paid below age 55 was made for women with dependent children, but not for a man in the same situation. That was contrary to the terms of the equal treatment directive (86/378), which, broadly speaking, required pension schemes to provide equal treatment to men and women by 1st January 1993. Accordingly, the Pensions (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1990—the 1990 Act—equalised the entitlement by removing the exception in favour of women for service after 1st January 1993.

The European Court, in the Barber judgment issued in May 1990, just before the 1990 Act took effect, ruled that pensions were to be regarded as pay, and therefore subject to the requirement of equality in Article 119 of

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the Treaty of Rome. Other important aspects of Barber were unclear, and have only recently been clarified in a series of ECJ judgments given on 29th September last. Following these, it is now clear that the approach taken in the 1990 Act, to equalise by levelling down, is not unlawful, and that the Barber judgment applies to official pensions such as public service pensions. The Barber judgment itself requires pensions to be equal from 17th May 1990. The requirements of European law are therefore clear. Men aged under 55 with dependent children must be eligible to have their pensions increased on the part of the pension attributable to service in the period 17th May 1990 to 31st December 1992. The amounts involved and the numbers affected are likely to be very small, but the principle is of course an important one. We would be in breach of our obligations under the Treaty of Rome were we not to amend our legislation so that schemes could lawfully make these payments. The amendment makes the necessary change to the Pensions (Increase) Acts. I commend it to the Committee.

Clause 145 agreed to.

7 p.m.

Schedule 6 [Amendments relating to Part IV]:


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