House of Lords

Monday 29th November 2021

(2 years, 7 months ago)

Lords Chamber
Read Full debate Read Hansard Text
Monday 29 November 2021
14:30
Prayers—read by the Lord Bishop of Durham.

Covid-19: Vaccine Donations

Monday 29th November 2021

(2 years, 7 months ago)

Lords Chamber
Read Full debate Read Hansard Text Read Debate Ministerial Extracts
Question
14:37
Asked by
Lord Lancaster of Kimbolton Portrait Lord Lancaster of Kimbolton
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have to donate COVID-19 vaccines to other countries bilaterally.

Lord Lancaster of Kimbolton Portrait Lord Lancaster of Kimbolton (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

My Lords, I beg leave to ask the Question standing in my name on the Order Paper and declare my interest as deputy colonel commandant of the Brigade of Gurkhas.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park Portrait The Minister of State, Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park) (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

My Lords, the UK will continue to donate Covid-19 vaccines to bilateral partners in line with the Prime Minister’s commitment at the G7 summit in June 2021. The primary objective is to promote the economic development and welfare of recipient countries, although we will also seek to strengthen key relationships in line with the integrated review as a secondary benefit. Decisions are taken on a case-by-case basis when vaccines are available to be donated.

Lord Lancaster of Kimbolton Portrait Lord Lancaster of Kimbolton (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

May I seek my noble friend’s reassurance on two points: first, that we will donate, not destroy, surplus vaccines; secondly, that he will look again at the request from the Government of Nepal for a bilateral donation, not least so that we can fulfil our commitment and our duty of care to vaccinate some 30,000 British Army Gurkha veterans who live there?

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park Portrait Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

My Lords, the UK donated 130,000 Covid vaccines to Nepal in August, recognising the historic link between our two countries. Since the beginning of the pandemic, our embassy in Kathmandu has reprioritised more than £40 million of development aid to help address the medical and socioeconomic consequences of the pandemic. In response to Nepal’s second wave of infections, the UK has delivered an additional package of support, including donating 260 ventilator machines, thousands of pieces of personal protective equipment and constructing an oxygen plant in Kathmandu.

Lord Bishop of Durham Portrait The Lord Bishop of Durham
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

In the light of the new omicron variant that has dominated the news over the weekend, my colleague Archbishop Thabo Makgoba of Cape Town urged those of us in rich countries to do better at narrowing inequality of vaccination rates, which are 7% in Africa and 70% in Europe. We must acknowledge that this virus knows no national boundaries and will spread, mutate and return to us in the way that we are seeing, so we need a global approach, not simply a bilateral approach. Will Her Majesty’s Government’s commit to redoubling efforts to seek a truly global approach to vaccine donation to ensure that people in all nations are safer?

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park Portrait Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

My Lords, the Government strongly agree and we are committed to supporting rapid, equitable access to safe and effective vaccines through multilateral co-operation to end the acute phase of this pandemic. That is why the UK supports the COVAX facility and was one of the first countries to do so. It is, as the right reverend Prelate knows, a multilateral mechanism that supports access by pooling resources to accelerate the development, manufacture and delivery of vaccines. More than 537 million vaccines have so far been delivered globally through that scheme.

Baroness Sugg Portrait Baroness Sugg (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

My Lords, I appreciate the Minister setting out what the UK has done, but when we look at vaccination rates in low-income countries, it is clear that the UK and, indeed, all high-income countries have just not done enough. Can the Minister say how many vaccines the UK has drawn down from the COVAX facility and how many vaccines have been destroyed as close to or past their use-by date?

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park Portrait Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

As my noble friend will know, COVAX is designed to work for both high and middle-income countries; this allows for the pooling of investments behind early vaccine candidates. The UK has procured 539,370 doses of the Pfizer vaccine through COVAX; those were delivered early this year. These doses help the NHS to deliver our vaccination programme as quickly as possible. No further doses have been received by the UK from COVAX. I am afraid I cannot answer my noble friend’s question on the waste of unused vaccines, but clearly, it is in all our interests and a key priority that we minimise any potential waste.

Lord Bilimoria Portrait Lord Bilimoria (CB)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

My Lords, in May this year, as president of the CBI, I chaired the B7. Dr Gita Gopinath, chief economist of the IMF, spoke at it and in May sent me a report called A Proposal to End the COVID-19 Pandemic. It would cost $50 billion to vaccinate the whole world by the first half of 2022. If one company, Serum Institute of India, can produce 1 billion vaccines, surely the Minister and the Government agree that we should follow the recommendations of this report, pull together and end this pandemic. Until we are all safe, no one is safe.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park Portrait Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

The noble Lord is absolutely right that until we are all safe, no one is safe. That is why the UK has been if not the biggest contributor then certainly one of the biggest contributors to the COVAX scheme. As the noble Lord says, making vaccines available globally not only helps to end the pandemic in developing countries but reduces the threat posed by vaccine-resistant variants emerging in areas with large-scale outbreaks, which of course threatens the UK. It is in all our interests that we do so.

Baroness Chakrabarti Portrait Baroness Chakrabarti (Lab)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

My Lords, it is a bitter irony indeed that tomorrow’s ministerial meeting of the WTO has had to be cancelled indefinitely because of a variant that could have been prevented had we all collaborated sooner on, for example, the TRIPS waiver. Given that the overwhelming majority of the R&D money spent on vaccines came from public and philanthropic funds, is it not time that the European Union stopped blocking the TRIPS waiver and that Her Majesty’s Government sided with the United States, India, South Africa and much of the global south, so that we do not just donate but collaborate over patents and know-how?

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park Portrait Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

My Lords, the UK is engaging intensively and constructively in the TRIPS waiver debate. We continue to be open to all ideas that have a positive impact on vaccine production and distribution. A balanced and effective intellectual property regime has proved invaluable in this crisis, as in others, in supporting innovation and collaboration. In the meantime, we know we need to continue to push ahead with pragmatic action now, including voluntary licensing and technology transfer agreements.

Lord Oates Portrait Lord Oates (LD)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

My Lords, did the Minister have a chance to listen to last night’s broadcast by South African President Cyril Ramaphosa? He said that

“the Omicron variant should be a wake-up call to the world that vaccine inequality cannot be allowed to continue … Until everyone is vaccinated, we should expect … more variants … Instead of prohibiting travel, the rich countries … need to support the efforts of developing economies to access and to manufacture enough … doses for their people”.

In light of those comments, will the Government convene an urgent meeting of the G7 to tackle the issue of the TRIPS waiver—we do not have time to wait—but also to agree an economic support package for southern African economies, which will be devastated by this travel ban?

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park Portrait Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

My Lords, I did not hear the broadcast, but I heard the summary of the message. I do not think anyone pretends it is an either/or decision: either blocking flights temporarily into this country or enabling the widespread vaccination of vulnerable populations. Our view is that both are necessary as immediate-term steps. The G7 has been dominated by discussions around this issue, and no doubt that will continue.

Lord McFall of Alcluith Portrait The Lord Speaker (Lord McFall of Alcluith)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

I call the noble Lord, Lord Bethell. He is not here. I call the noble Lord, Lord Collins of Highbury.

Lord Collins of Highbury Portrait Lord Collins of Highbury (Lab)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

My Lords, too many of the vaccines gifted to the poorest countries are within 12 weeks of their use-by dates. These short lead times between donation and expiry show why a strengthened G20 and a month-to-month delivery timetable are now urgent. Will the Government follow the Swiss example of expeditious transferring of delivery dates with their recent transfer to COVAX? We can act now and have an effect now.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park Portrait Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

My Lords, the UK does not hold a stockpile of Covid vaccines; we manage the supply chain carefully. However, for all bilateral donations we sought assurances that recipients have the capacity to roll out the quantity of doses in line with the national vaccination programmes and ahead of their expiry dates. For donations through COVAX, the UK is working closely with both COVAX and its partners—such as UNICEF—to allocate vaccines according to need, facilitate the rapid delivery of doses and maximise the shelf-life available to recipients.

Baroness Coussins Portrait Baroness Coussins (CB)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

My Lords, I return to the issue posed by the noble Baroness, Lady Chakrabarti. The WTO’s waiver—the TRIPS waiver—was activated for antiretroviral drugs at the height of the HIV/AIDS crisis. Can the Minister say exactly what the blockages are at the moment? This would be one good way of getting Covid vaccines much more rapidly produced and distributed in the countries that need them most.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park Portrait Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

The noble Baroness is right and that is why the UK is engaging actively in this debate. I will ask my colleagues across government in whose department this sits to provide an update, which I will share with the noble Baroness.

Baroness Fall Portrait Baroness Fall (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

My Lords, only 2% of people in low-income countries have received vaccines—woefully short of what is needed if we are to put this behind us. I echo the point made by the noble Lord, Lord Oates: we are still president of the G7 and we should use that power to convene another meeting, a global summit on vaccines. I ask the Minister to put this to the Government.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park Portrait Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

I am very happy to make that commitment—I will put this to colleagues across government.

Rivers and Coastal Waters: Sewage

Monday 29th November 2021

(2 years, 7 months ago)

Lords Chamber
Read Full debate Read Hansard Text Read Debate Ministerial Extracts
Question
14:46
Asked by
Baroness Quin Portrait Baroness Quin
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what recent discussions they have had with water companies about the discharge of sewage into rivers and coastal waters.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park Portrait The Minister of State, Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park) (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

My Lords, the Government have repeatedly made it clear to water companies that the current number of sewage discharges is totally unacceptable. My counterpart in the other House has made this very clear directly to the CEOs of the water companies. Government and regulators are working with the industry as part of the Storm Overflows Taskforce, and the Environment Agency and Ofwat have launched a major investigation into sewage discharges from sewage treatment works.

Baroness Quin Portrait Baroness Quin (Lab)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

My Lords, this past week has seen the publication of a report by Surfers Against Sewage. It detailed an increase in sewage discharges as a result of which, one in every six days in the swimming season was declared “unswimmable”. There are also reports, just referred to by the Minister, of new investigations of widespread, unpermitted releases of sewage by water companies, which they are now admitting to. Given the urgency of the situation, has the Minister—beyond his concluding remarks on the Environment Bill—any updates on the timescale for progressively reducing sewage discharges, on bringing forward the Government’s own plan currently scheduled for next September, or on any other plans for new measures?

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park Portrait Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

I very much agree with the comments of the noble Baroness and strongly welcome the work of Surfers Against Sewage, which has worked wonders in putting this issue at the top of the political agenda, where it belongs. On the back of that pressure, this House mobilised in a very effective way and that strengthened the hands of those in government who are keen to push the issue further. On timescale, the Government can use our direction-making powers in the drainage and sewage management plans to direct companies to take more action if needed. We will provide a further definition of what that means, and the ambition that we are working to, in early 2022—a few months’ time.

Baroness Browning Portrait Baroness Browning (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

What has my noble friend’s department done on the need to improve infrastructure—for example, separating out foul water from surface water so that the amount of foul water that needs to be discharged is reduced? Does his department have a plan, has it been costed and is there a timetable?

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park Portrait Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

My Lords, one of the things that the Government committed to during the passage of the then Environment Bill, now Act, was to conduct an assessment of what it would cost to eliminate storm overflows and—separately, because it is a different question—to eliminate the harm from storm overflows. We do not know yet what the cost of the former would be; estimates vary wildly from £150 million to £600 million. So we do not know what the cost will be or even where the opportunities are, but that is the purpose of the study that is being conducted and we will act on its results as a matter of urgency.

Lord Campbell-Savours Portrait Lord Campbell-Savours (Lab) [V]
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

My Lords, I have a very simple question. I cannot understand how the Government can trumpet the privatisation of water as a success when companies such as United Utilities not only unsettle whole populations by failing to control their assets and stop flooding in Lake District towns such as Keswick, but also, following flooding, seem blind when their sewage plants overflow, fail and then pollute lakes such as Lake Bassenthwaite, destroying local wildlife. For how long do we have to tolerate these excesses and failures?

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park Portrait Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

My Lords, the Government are committed to the private model, supported by strong independent economic regulation—that bit is the key. We have no plans to bring water into public ownership but, equally, holding a near-monopoly licence to provide these services is clearly a privilege and the Government and regulators have high expectations of the behaviour of owners and investors. That is now reflected in the toughest laws that this country has ever had in relation to our water quality.

Baroness Bakewell of Hardington Mandeville Portrait Baroness Bakewell of Hardington Mandeville (LD)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

My Lords, Southern Water is named as by far the largest culprit among the water companies in the report after the company issued 1,949 sewage discharge notifications, from a total of 5,517 around Britain. This accounted for 35% of all incidents from nine water companies. The company has already been fined but appears unrepentant. How are the Government going to bring Southern Water into line, given that fines do not appear to be a deterrent?

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park Portrait Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

My Lords, we have made it clear to the water industry, including Southern Water, that it needs to reduce the adverse impacts of all sewage discharge discharges, whether treated or untreated, as a matter of urgency. In addition, the sector will need to demonstrate year-on-year progress in meeting those targets. Where the targets are not met, the Government will have no hesitation whatever in stepping in and using all the tools at our disposal.

Baroness Altmann Portrait Baroness Altmann (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

My Lords, I thank my noble friend, his department and his officials for all the support that they have given on this issue during the passage of the then Environment Bill and the amendment from the noble Duke, the Duke of Wellington, that was finally accepted. I welcome the investigation into the sewage discharges. Does my noble friend agree that a ban on wet wipes would significantly improve the ability of water companies to manage sewage treatment more effectively and, if he does, when any such measures could be anticipated?

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park Portrait Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

The noble Baroness makes a really important point. There is no doubt that wet wipes can be a serious contributing factor to overflows at treatment works. Defra has already announced a call for evidence, which will explore among other things a possible ban on single-use wet wipes—or at least those that contain plastics. I assure the noble Baroness that, whatever the outcomes of that call for evidence, we are absolutely determined and willing to do whatever is necessary.

Baroness Jones of Whitchurch Portrait Baroness Jones of Whitchurch (Lab)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

My Lords, the chair of the Environment Agency, Emma Howard Boyd, said recently that the directors of water companies that are guilty of repeated deliberate or reckless breaches of environmental law should be struck off and, potentially, given custodial sentences. Does the Minister agree with her? If so, what are the Government doing to ensure that the individual directors responsible for these environmental crimes pay the right penalty for those actions?

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park Portrait Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

My Lords, I was not aware of her suggestion, but it sounds like a very good idea and I will convey it back to my colleagues at the department. The cumulative effect of the Environment Act and the direction provided to Ofwat just a few months ago means that we have more tools to deal with these issues than we have ever had in the past. The Government have been clear, publicly but also directly with the water companies, that we are absolutely willing to—and, where necessary, will—use the tools at our disposal.

Lord Moylan Portrait Lord Moylan (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

My Lords, does my noble friend agree that our forebears who built our sewerage system sought to work with nature so as to reduce tremendously the amount of sewage discharge into natural watercourses but not to eliminate it; that the cost of going for total elimination at this stage would be enormous; and that it is important to consult the consumer before any dramatic pledges are made to see where he and she would like to put this in their scheme of priorities?

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park Portrait Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

The noble Lord makes a really important point, and that is why we, and many campaigners, talk not about eliminating overflows but about eliminating the harm from overflows. That would then allow us to make more use of the kinds of natural systems that he mentioned—reed-bed systems, for example, which purify the water as it re-enters circulation. That would not be possible were we to eliminate overflows—but the key is eliminating harm and that is what we are focusing on.

Lord Whitty Portrait Lord Whitty (Lab)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

My Lords, does the Minister accept that unauthorised discharges of untreated sewage will continue unless the regulators of this industry significantly up their game? I declare a past interest as a board member of both agencies in the past, when I think we did it rather better. Ofwat needs to assign part of the capital allowance to sewage treatment and the Environment Agency, in particular, needs to monitor and enforce the rules that, as the Minister says, are now there—but it needs staff to enforce them. When will the decline in the number of field staff at the Environment Agency be reversed?

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park Portrait Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

My Lords, like all public bodies, the Environment Agency had to make difficult spending decisions in 2015. However, since 2015 the agency has brought nearly 50 prosecutions against water companies and secured fines of over £136 million, including a £90 million fine for Southern Water. Defra and its agencies also received a £1 billion increase in overall funding at the spending review and, given that this is a government priority, much of that resource will be spent tackling this issue.

Lord Oates Portrait Lord Oates (LD)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

Can the Minister tell the House what calculation the Government have made of the economic and ecological cost caused by the continued discharge of untreated sewage into coastal waters and inland waterways? Does he recognise that, if the Victorians had taken the approach of the Government, and apparently of the noble Lord, Lord Moylan, they would have determined that laying the original sewage network was prohibitively expensive, and we would still be throwing our waste into the street?

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park Portrait Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

I think the noble Lord is wrong about that. I am sure he would be the first to applaud the use of nature-based solutions in treating sewage run-off around the country. I think my noble friend Lord Moylan was advocating a continuation of that approach, because it is much cheaper and has all kinds of benefits that go beyond simply purifying the water. That is preferable to spending potentially unprecedented sums of money in other ways.

Lord McFall of Alcluith Portrait The Lord Speaker (Lord McFall of Alcluith)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

My Lords, the time allowed for this Question has elapsed.

Football Clubs: Ownership Test

Monday 29th November 2021

(2 years, 7 months ago)

Lords Chamber
Read Full debate Read Hansard Text Read Debate Ministerial Extracts
Question
14:57
Asked by
Lord Bassam of Brighton Portrait Lord Bassam of Brighton
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have, if any, to legislate to strengthen the “fit and proper person” test for the ownership of football clubs.

Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay Portrait The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay) (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

My Lords, the Government have published the final report setting out the independent fan-led review of football governance’s recommendations for the reform of English football. These include proposals for a new and more robust test for owners and directors, resulting in a unified system which would be created and overseen by a new independent regulator for English football. The Government welcome the work of the review and will consider its detailed recommendations ahead of providing a full government response in the new year.

Lord Bassam of Brighton Portrait Lord Bassam of Brighton (Lab)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

My Lords, I thank the Minister for that helpful Answer, but the recent takeover of Newcastle has raised many questions about the suitability of the fit and proper persons test. To be honest, concerns have been around for years but neither the footballing authorities nor the Government have come up with satisfactory answers. Last week, the Premier League’s chief executive said that, while there were concerns about the relationship between Newcastle’s owners and the Saudi state, he

“can’t choose who is chairing a football club”

because:

The owners test doesn’t let us take a view”.


Does the Minister believe that that is right, and can he tell us when, or if, the Government will legislate on the test?

Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay Portrait Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

My Lords, the takeover of Newcastle United by PCP Capital Partners has always been a matter for the club and the Premier League, which undertook its own due diligence as part of the owners and directors test. My honourable friend Tracey Crouch looked into that with the fan-led review and, as I said, we welcome the report of that review and are looking at all its recommendations, including on the owners and directors test. We will come back with our response to those in full.

Lord Addington Portrait Lord Addington (LD)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

My Lords, the Newcastle situation is rather different from others because part of a British city’s identity is effectively being taken over by a foreign power with a questionable reputation for human rights abuses. Are we going to take in special regulation that means that we actually look at that when we are considering football ownership—because we have such a profitable Premiership?

Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay Portrait Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

My Lords, a lot of Newcastle United fans would take exception with the way that the noble Lord characterises that. They certainly welcome the investment in the club and the opportunity for dialogue, which is such an important part of sporting endeavour.

Lord Faulkner of Worcester Portrait Lord Faulkner of Worcester (Lab)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

My Lords, I declare a slightly ancient interest: I was a vice-chair of the Football Task Force, whose report in 1999 was the last serious attempt to, in the words of the Independent, “deliver a fair deal” for fans. Our proposal for independent regulation was blocked by the Premier League, the Football League and the FA. Can the Minister assure me that Tracey Crouch’s excellent report will not go the same way as the Football Task Force’s final report? Has he seen these words in her fan-led review:

“The fit and proper persons test has failed to stop many owners who are not ‘fit and proper’. It’s a disaster of a system.”

Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay Portrait Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

I know that the noble Lord is a committed fan and campaigner. My honourable friend Tracey Crouch will certainly not let the matter rest. She has led a very good review. She was in another place when it was debated last week, and I know that she will not let up on this important issue. It is also thanks to the contributions of many thousands of football fans, which have informed the review very well.

Lord Holmes of Richmond Portrait Lord Holmes of Richmond (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

My Lords, is my noble friend aware of the work that we did at UK Sport on good governance as part of the Mission 2012 and Road to Rio programmes, delivering benefits not just in the boardrooms of sport but in the pool, on the pitch and across the park? Would he agree that good governance is not a “nice to have” or a matter of compliance; it is essential for ethical and safe support and absolutely essential for sustainable and successful sport?

Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay Portrait Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

I agree with my noble friend: Mission 2012 helped to identify athlete performance issues and challenges, enabling them to be dealt with quickly and efficiently in the run-up to the London Games in 2012. I am pleased to say that the process has been used in subsequent Olympic and Paralympic cycles. Since 2017, the Code for Sports Governance has set out the standards that all sporting organisations must meet in return for public funding, either from UK Sport or Sport England.

Lord Londesborough Portrait Lord Londesborough (CB)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

My Lords, I should perhaps declare an interest as a supporter of West Ham United, which looks set to be owned by Czech billionaire Daniel Křetínský. But does the Minister agree that foreign ownership is not the core issue here—rather, it is the need for clearly defined integrity tests for all football club owners, whether British or foreign? Does he also agree that the fit and proper person test should include human rights, mindful of so-called “sportswashing”? On that basis, a club like Newcastle might not now be 80% owned by the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund.

Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay Portrait Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

Tracey Crouch, in the fan-led review, makes the point about an integrity test. As I said, we welcome the report—we will look at all the recommendations and come forward with our response to them in due course.

Lord Grantchester Portrait Lord Grantchester (Lab)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

I declare my interest as recorded in the register. Would the Minister agree that transparency is an important part of the fit and proper person test? Has the Premier League given an answer to the following question to its football clubs, the Government or the media: what are the governance differences from the previous position, which ruled out the Newcastle United purchase, to the position agreed by the Premier League on 7 October that the takeover is now acceptable, such that the assurances of no interference from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia can be relied upon? Can the answer be given to assure all football fans concerned about the propriety of the game?

Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay Portrait Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

I do not know if the Premier League has answered that, but I will certainly take the point away and ask on behalf of the noble Lord. But, as I say, the takeover of Newcastle United has been a matter for it and the Premier League, which undertook its own due diligence as part of the owners and directors test.

Lord McNally Portrait Lord McNally (LD)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

My Lords, I do not think anybody doubts Tracey Crouch’s commitment to reform, but as the noble Lord, Lord Faulkner, reminded us, the Mellor-Faulkner report 20 years ago was equally determined to clean up football and was defeated by vested interests within the game. Can the Minister assure us that there will be backbone in No.10 as well as with Tracey Crouch in seeing these reforms through?

Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay Portrait Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

Yes, and I would point to the Government’s manifesto, which committed to this fan-led review. Football is nothing without its fans. That is why we have taken action at every step to support them, both through the manifesto commitment but also during the pandemic by getting football back on television and using the events research programme to get fans back safely into stadia.

Lord Mann Portrait Lord Mann (Non-Afl)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

I declare my interest as the fan-elected chair of the oldest fan group in world football, at Leeds United. Does the Minister agree that the Premier League is the biggest single success that this country has in terms of reputation across the world and is loved by people wanting to watch it well beyond this country? Does he further agree that there is a fundamental difference between the Premier League and those who have owned clubs such as Bury, Darlington and Chester who have managed to wreck and ruin them?

Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay Portrait Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

The noble Lord is right about the great pride that fans across the country place in the national sport and its huge impact not just in this country but worldwide. That is why we welcome the fan-led review and committed to it in our manifesto. It is also why we will study it carefully and come back with our response.

Baroness Brinton Portrait Baroness Brinton (LD) [V]
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

My Lords, my noble friend Lord McNally reminded us of the fate of the report by the noble Lord, Lord Faulkner, two decades ago, and Tracey Crouch’s report must see the light of day. However, I ask again, as others have: what does “in due course” mean and what will happen to any other proposed changes of ownership between now and any future legislation?

Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay Portrait Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

My Lords, Tracey Crouch’s report saw the light of day on Thursday. It was published; it is 160 pages long. She makes 47 detailed recommendations. The Government are studying all those. We will do her and the 20,000 fans who took part in the review the respect of looking at it and will come forward with our response.

Lord Lennie Portrait Lord Lennie (Lab)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

I add my congratulations to those offered to Tracey Crouch and the team for producing the report with its 47 recommendations. It has the potential to become truly transformational, if and when it is implemented in full. But can I clarify one point? As a Newcastle United fan, under some pressure, I ask the Minister what the Government believe is meant by the term “good character” on page 69 of the report, and does he believe that the new owners of Newcastle United would pass that specific test?

Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay Portrait Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

My Lords, what Tracey Crouch meant in her report is a question for her, but, as I have said, we are studying the report and its recommendations and will take them forward. The takeover of Newcastle United has always been a matter for it and the Premier League. Without knowing the specifics, it is hard for me to say what impact such a recommendation would have. As the noble Lord will know as well as I do, Newcastle United fans have welcomed the new investment in the club, but have done so with open eyes and while engaging in the dialogue that is an important part of sport.

Lord McFall of Alcluith Portrait The Lord Speaker (Lord McFall of Alcluith)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

My Lords, the time allowed for this Question has elapsed.

Ukraine: Military Equipment

Monday 29th November 2021

(2 years, 7 months ago)

Lords Chamber
Read Full debate Read Hansard Text Read Debate Ministerial Extracts
Question
15:08
Asked by
Lord Balfe Portrait Lord Balfe
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have to sell missiles to the government of Ukraine; what discussions they had with the governments of (1) Germany, (2) France, and (3) the United States of America, prior to opening negotiations on the supply of military equipment to Ukraine; and what assessment they have made of the impact of any such sales on peace in the region.

Baroness Goldie Portrait The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence (Baroness Goldie) (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

My Lords, we have signed a number of agreements with the Government of Ukraine to work together and with industry to boost Ukraine’s defence capabilities. This is part of the UK’s ongoing commitment to the Ukrainian defence capabilities and the support announced during President Zelensky’s visit to the UK in October. The UK maintains close dialogue with key allies, including Germany, France and the US, regarding Ukrainian military development. These agreements reflect and underline the UK’s commitment to Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty.

Lord Balfe Portrait Lord Balfe (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

My Lords, in eastern Europe, we seem to be drifting towards a war that we will inevitably lose, since we are outnumbered by about four to one. Would the Minister like to take back to the department the need for a comprehensive conference to deal with the frozen conflicts of eastern Europe, most of which date back 20 years? We need to review the Minsk II agreement and possibly look at an Austrian state treaty solution to the problems of Ukraine. Can we have a new initiative please, and not just a drift to war?

Baroness Goldie Portrait Baroness Goldie (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

I thank my noble friend for the question, but I do not share his analysis. No one is disputing that there is a serious situation within Ukraine and on the Crimea peninsula. That is precisely why, over the last 20 years, and particularly in the past six years, the UK, along with allies and partners, has been supporting Ukraine with training, in capacity-building missions and maritime and other training initiatives. That is what the recent agreement was predicated on when we signed the treaty with Ukraine on official credit support for UK Export Finance. It is all about supporting that country and helping it to build its military capabilities.

Lord Coaker Portrait Lord Coaker (Lab)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

To build on what the noble Lord, Lord Balfe, has just said, it was General Sir Nick Carter, the Chief of the Defence Staff, who only recently spoke of a drift towards an accidental war with Russia. Can the Minister explain to us how, in our desire rightly to stand by our ally in Ukraine and our other allies, we are going to stop that drift to any sort of accidental incident or war with Russia?

Baroness Goldie Portrait Baroness Goldie (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

The accidental occurrence to which the noble Lord refers would obviously be very negative and unwelcome, and what all powers, particularly the UK and NATO allies, are anxious to avoid. The noble Lord will be aware that, within NATO, we are focused on dialogue and discussion and on doing what we can to provide support to Ukraine, not in some provocative sense but, simply, in a sensible and supportive manner, helping it to build a capability. A lot of very good work has gone on in that respect, not just from the UK but from our other allies and partners.

Lord Lancaster of Kimbolton Portrait Lord Lancaster of Kimbolton (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

My Lords, Operation Orbital is the long-standing military training package that we have offered to Ukraine for some years. Historically, it has only ever delivered defensive training. Now that we are looking at delivering military hardware to Ukraine, has the time came also to offer lethal training?

Baroness Goldie Portrait Baroness Goldie (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

My noble friend is quite right in that Operation Orbital was conceived and has been delivered as a training mission, again with the objective of building Ukraine’s military capacity. As I said earlier to the noble Lord, Lord Coaker, this is part of a chain of events—and this is why we are moving on to assist Ukraine with acquiring other support for its military and naval capability. We wish to support an ally and a friend and partner, and make sure that we can use our expertise and skill to enable it to be stronger—that is what this composite package of measures is about.

Baroness Smith of Newnham Portrait Baroness Smith of Newnham (LD)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

My Lords, capacity building is obviously important, but last week the Daily Telegraph reported the defence intelligence chief of Ukraine as saying that there were 92,000 soldiers massing towards Ukraine’s borders. Can the UK Government really help capacity building to the extent that that can be offset? If not, as the noble Lord, Lord Balfe, said, can some other action not be taken so we can begin to look at diplomacy rather than military capacity building?

Baroness Goldie Portrait Baroness Goldie (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

Operation Orbital, the training arm of what the UK has been doing with Ukraine since 2015, has actually trained around 22,000 Ukrainian troops to date. Operation Orbital delivers tactically focused training to the Armed Forces, such as medical logistics, counter-improvised explosive device training and maritime and air domain training. We have other training initiatives as well. In addition, we support Ukraine in the defence reform space, and we do that with our allies, so a great deal of support is being given to Ukraine. We regret the attitude and posture adopted by Russia and urge it to de-escalate pressure and help to stabilise the region.

Lord Robathan Portrait Lord Robathan (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

My Lords, the Question refers to “peace in the region” but, unless I have got it wrong, it is Russia that has invaded South Ossetia, annexed Crimea, Moldova and now Donbass. Surely nobody can doubt the malign intent, and determination for aggrandisement of Putin’s regime. Does my noble friend agree that to take a disinterested or neutral stance on the conflicts in Ukraine would be to the detriment of world peace?

Baroness Goldie Portrait Baroness Goldie (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

My noble friend is correct in his analysis that the perpetrators of the pressure are indeed the Russian Government. We have significant concerns about their aggressive pattern of military build-ups on Ukraine’s border, certainly in the illegally annexed Crimea. That behaviour is unacceptable. We and our allies are monitoring the situation and continually call on Russia to adhere to its international obligations and commitments.

Lord Truscott Portrait Lord Truscott (Non-Afl)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

My Lords, anyone who has studied Russia knows that if the Ukrainians try to retake the Russian-populated areas of Donbass and Crimea by force, Russia will go to war. Meanwhile, as the Minister said, we are providing lethal weapons to Ukraine, training its military and providing loans so that it can buy military equipment. May I press the Minister to say what effort Her Majesty’s Government are making to seek a peaceful solution to this conflict?

Baroness Goldie Portrait Baroness Goldie (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

The noble Lord will be aware that we engage in discussions with and make representations to Russia. Indeed, the Prime Minister spoke to President Putin on 25 October and was very clear about the views that we hold. We understand and sympathise with Ukraine, which obviously feels vulnerable, and it is our duty along with our allies and partners, particularly in NATO, to provide support and reassurance. That is what we are endeavouring to do.

Lord West of Spithead Portrait Lord West of Spithead (Lab)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

My Lords, the greatest risk to the survival of mankind is not global warming, it is an accidental thermonuclear war. One has only to look at the dreadful behaviour of Putin, not just around Ukraine but in a number of other ways, and his very loose talk about his de-escalatory policy of using a nuclear weapon should he be losing a conventional war, to see what the real risks are. I believe it is very important that we get the people who were around the table in Minsk when we made the Ukrainians get rid of their nuclear weapons who have failed since that time in terms of their handling of Russia. Does the Minister agree? We dealt with Crimea badly; everything that has happened with Ukraine has been dealt with badly. We need urgently to get back round the table or there will be a mistake—and, goodness me, that will be it.

Baroness Goldie Portrait Baroness Goldie (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

That would be a very alarming prognosis and a very unwelcome outcome, which I obviously hope can be avoided. The noble Lord is aware of the programme of engagement that has continued over a number of years with Ukraine. It is not just on the part of the UK, it is with our other allies, not least, as I said, within NATO. Ukraine enjoys a strong bilateral relationship with the United Kingdom; it is a relationship that we value and nurture and, as recent events have indicated, is it one that we support by deeds in addition to words.

Baroness Bennett of Manor Castle Portrait Baroness Bennett of Manor Castle (GP)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

My Lords, the noble Lord, Lord Balfe, asks about the impact of arms sales on peace in eastern Europe. In the light of the US and allied withdrawal from Afghanistan, the broader pursuit of “America first” policies from Washington, and the fact that the UK is the world’s second-largest arms exporter, with the majority going to the Middle East, are the Government reviewing all arms sales and indeed the place of the UK arms industry? Are they truly counting the cost on UK and global security of our arms industry?

Baroness Goldie Portrait Baroness Goldie (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

The UK Government take very seriously our responsibility for the security of this country and our support for our global allies. That is why we have a strong defence capability. The noble Baroness will be aware that exports of arms and weapons are monitored extremely closely under a very robust regime.

Lord McFall of Alcluith Portrait The Lord Speaker (Lord McFall of Alcluith)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

My Lords, that concludes Oral Questions for today.

Independent Fan-led Review of Football Governance

Monday 29th November 2021

(2 years, 7 months ago)

Lords Chamber
Read Full debate Read Hansard Text Read Debate Ministerial Extracts
Commons Urgent Question
The following Answer to an Urgent Question was given in the House of Commons on Thursday 25 November.
“First, may I take this opportunity to thank my honourable friend the Member for Chatham and Aylesford, Tracey Crouch, the advisory panel of experts and the thousands of football fans up and down the country who have contributed to this report? Football clubs are at the heart of our local communities, and fans are at the heart of those clubs, but there were problems in football governance and the voice of fans was not always being heard. That is why we committed to the fan-led review of football governance in our manifesto. The events seen at Bury and at Macclesfield Town, and with the European super league, made it vital that we looked at what reform was needed to protect those fans, and we triggered the review back in April. My honourable friend has today presented her final report, setting out her recommendations. A copy has been made available in the Library, and of course the Government will formally and fully respond to the independent report in the new year.
The review is a comprehensive examination of English football, founded on more than 100 hours of engagement across the game and the views of more than 20,000 fans. I am grateful to all those who have given evidence, but most importantly to the fans who have had their voice heard. That voice will remain at the heart of our thinking in assessing the recommendations. The final report is a thorough and detailed examination of the challenges faced by English football. It shows the problems in football and is clear that reform is needed to solve them. I will not go through the 10 strategic recommendations and the 47 detailed recommendations here, Mr Speaker, but they are wide-ranging and comprehensive, addressing the need for an independent regulator, improved financial sustainability, better governance and a proper role for fans.
The report shows that fundamental change is needed in our national game, and fans deserve that. We are at a turning point for football in this country. The review is a detailed and worthy piece of work that will require a substantive response and plan of action from across government. However, the primary recommendation of the review—that football requires a strong, independent regulator—is one that I, and the Government, endorse in principle today. The Government will now work at pace to determine the most effective way to deliver an independent regulator, and any powers that might be needed. That is what the fans want, and this Government are on the side of fans.”
15:19
Lord Bassam of Brighton Portrait Lord Bassam of Brighton (Lab)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

My Lords, we strongly welcome the independent Crouch review, whose recommendations, I have to say, look suspiciously like the sports section of the Labour Party manifesto, going back several general elections. We have long called for fans to be placed at the centre of the game that they do so much to sustain and for stronger protections when they are mistreated or their beloved clubs mismanaged. The Government say they will respond to the review in spring 2022 but, let us be clear, there is much that can be done in the interim. Will they, for example, establish a shadow regulator ahead of the 2022-23 season? Can the Minister confirm that any enabling legislation for Tracey Crouch’s reform package will not only feature in the next Queen’s Speech but be made a genuine political priority?

Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay Portrait The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay) (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

My Lords, this is a matter that transcends party politics. Football clubs are at the heart of our communities and fans are at the heart of those clubs, and everybody with an interest wants to make sure that they are. I am very proud that our manifesto commitment to set up this review has led to it in swift time; Tracey Crouch has done very thorough work at good speed. We will give her report and the views of all the fans who contributed to it the respect that they deserve; the report deserves a substantive response from the Government and it will get one. But the noble Lord is right that there are things that can be done now, not least by football clubs themselves, with regard to heritage, financial flows and governance. They need not wait for us to go through the report and come forward with our response to start taking the action that people want to see.

Lord Foulkes of Cumnock Portrait Lord Foulkes of Cumnock (Lab Co-op)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

My Lords, I declare an interest as one of 8,800 owners of Heart of Midlothian Football Club, the largest fan-owned club in the whole of the United Kingdom. I also have the privilege of having prepared a report on football governance for the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, which will be considered at a committee on Thursday and then at the plenary session in January. That report endorses what Tracey Crouch has said but goes even further. Can I have the Minister’s assurance that, when the Committee of Ministers approves my report, as I expect it will, it will then be considered in detail by Her Majesty’s Government?

Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay Portrait Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

Yes, I am sure my honourable friend the Sports Minister will be delighted to receive a copy of the report when it is published and will of course look at it with the attention and respect it deserves.

Baroness Verma Portrait Baroness Verma (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

My Lords, will my noble friend, in asking for better commitment towards fans, also recognise that, if fans were much more involved in the management of their clubs, we might be able to reduce the scale of racism that has come into football?

Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay Portrait Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

My noble friend makes a very good point. Fans have been aghast at some of the appalling things that we have seen in recent years directed at football players at every level. That is why we want to ensure that true fans of football have their voices heard at every level, not least in calling out the abhorrent racism that we sometimes see.

Lord Addington Portrait Lord Addington (LD)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

My Lords, can the Minister give an assurance that, if we follow the lines of the report, the Government will take seriously the fact that the Premier League has got to pump more money into the lower professional leagues to keep them viable? Without this, we will see more and more of the fiascos that have happened with smaller football clubs such as Northampton, where something that is part of that town’s heritage is taken away, or threatened to be taken away, from it.

Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay Portrait Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

My Lords, yes, the Government were very clear that cash should flow through the football pyramid more fairly and called on clubs to do that during the pandemic. I am very glad to say that, in many cases, it was so, but that is one of the recommendations followed up by Tracey Crouch and her review and one that we will look at carefully.

Baroness Armstrong of Hill Top Portrait Baroness Armstrong of Hill Top (Lab)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

My Lords, as a member of the north-east fanatical football supporters’ league—but not a Newcastle United fan—I was disappointed when the Minister said earlier on that, essentially, the way the Premier League assesses “fit and proper person” is none of the Government’s business. It should be. Some of us have been saying for 20 years—for a lot longer than that, actually—that too much of our football governance is not fit for purpose and that the drive of the Premier League for more and more money has undermined much of what football is meant to be about. It is tragic that we do not have more fans properly engaged in governance in this country. The Premier League—I challenge it on this—does not want that because it believes that it will put off money and monied people coming into the Premier League. Therefore, will the Government, in their review of the Tracey Crouch report and their thoughts about future governance, really think about the model that is spread throughout the UK that would involve fans much more centrally in direct governance of football?

Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay Portrait Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

My Lords, as I say, while we are considering the review’s recommendations, it is clear from Tracey Crouch’s report that there is a significant opportunity to tighten up and strengthen the current owners’ and directors’ test. We will look at that very seriously and come forward with our response to the report in due course.

Baroness McIntosh of Pickering Portrait Baroness McIntosh of Pickering (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

My Lords, will my noble friend commend the report by our honourable friend Tracey Crouch for being so bold? I support the point made by the noble Lord, Lord Addington; 62 insolvencies of lower-league clubs have occurred. Will my noble friend’s department use every good office to ensure that—while not harming the Premier League in the long term—more money will filter down to the lower levels?

Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay Portrait Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

My Lords, I join my noble friend in reiterating my thanks to our honourable friend Tracey Crouch for the work that she has done. Football has had many opportunities to get its house in order but has not taken them, and that is why this report is such an important and timely one. In the past, football’s failure to reform itself has had an injurious impact on many clubs, as we saw with the proposals to set up the closed shop of a European super league. That is why we have taken the action of commissioning this fan-led review and why we will respond to it thoroughly.

Lord Austin of Dudley Portrait Lord Austin of Dudley (Non-Afl)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

My Lords, there are not many things that England leads the world at, but the Premier League is one of them. One of the reasons for that is because it has attracted investment from right around the world. While I am no fan of the Saudi Arabian takeover of Newcastle, I think we have to be really cautious about anything which might undermine the Premier League’s success in future.

I want to ask the Minister a couple of specific questions. Can he explain how he thinks an independent regulator would, for example, have prevented the collapse of Bury? What happened there was that a guy came in, bought the club and eventually did not have the funds to sustain it, and the club went bust. Would an independent regulator have blocked his purchase of Bury? If it had done so, the club would have gone bust sooner and the independent regulator—and by extension the Government—would have got the blame. I think there is no possibility that an independent regulator would have done that. People talk about more money cascading down the pyramid. Is the Minister not aware that the Premier League gave £250 million to the Championship and millions more to the leagues below that? One of the reasons it was able to do that is because the league has been so successful, so let us be cautious about undermining that.

Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay Portrait Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

My Lords, Tracey Crouch’s review demonstrates that there are fundamental issues with our national sport and that there is a case for significant reform. We do not want to see any more of our historic clubs vanishing from the football leagues and football not doing enough to help itself. The scenarios the noble Lord outlines are the ones we will have in mind as we look at the recommendations she made and as we formulate our responses to them.

Lord Holmes of Richmond Portrait Lord Holmes of Richmond (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

My Lords, would my noble friend agree that, though football is the national game, it cannot in any sense be separate from the national culture and values? To this end, it has a way to go to be truly inclusive for all. Would he agree that the Crouch review makes many excellent recommendations to this effect and is well worth the Government considering extremely seriously?

Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay Portrait Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

Yes, we are indeed considering it very seriously. My noble friend is right that the pride we invest in our national sport and demonstrate when it is watched and enjoyed by people all over the world is a demonstration of our values as a nation. That is why the international reach of football and the great interest it attracts—whether that is from fans or investors overseas—should be a source of pride as well, and our response to the fan-led review will aim to strengthen all of that.

Public Authority Algorithm Bill [HL]

1st reading
Monday 29th November 2021

(2 years, 7 months ago)

Lords Chamber
Read Full debate Public Authority Algorithm Bill [HL] 2021-22 View all Public Authority Algorithm Bill [HL] 2021-22 Debates Read Hansard Text
First Reading
15:30
A Bill to regulate the use of automated decision-making in the public sector; to require a public authority to complete an algorithmic impact assessment in prescribed form where it procures or develops an automated decision-making system; to establish a Minister for standards in algorithm use; and for connected purposes.
The Bill was introduced by Lord Clement-Jones, read a first time and ordered to be printed.

Modern Slavery (Victim Support) Bill [HL]

1st reading
Monday 29th November 2021

(2 years, 7 months ago)

Lords Chamber
Read Full debate Modern Slavery (Victim Support) Bill [HL] 2021-22 View all Modern Slavery (Victim Support) Bill [HL] 2021-22 Debates Read Hansard Text
First Reading
15:30
A Bill to make provision about supporting victims of modern slavery.
The Bill was introduced by Lord McColl of Dulwich, read a first time and ordered to be printed.
Third Reading
15:31
Motion
Moved by
Baroness Goldie Portrait Baroness Goldie
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

That the Bill do now pass.

Baroness Goldie Portrait The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence (Baroness Goldie) (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

My Lords, it has been a great pleasure to lead the Bill through this House. It delivers on the manifesto commitment to strengthen the legislation of the Armed Forces covenant that will deliver for the Armed Forces community across the United Kingdom. It further strengthens the service justice system for our Armed Forces, wherever they serve. Most importantly, without this Bill, the Armed Forces Act 2006—the legislation that maintains the Armed Forces as a disciplined body—could not continue in force beyond the end of this year.

I therefore convey my deep gratitude to all noble Lords for supporting the Bill and for their invaluable contributions to our extremely incisive and well-informed debates. Undoubtedly, this is a marked tribute to your Lordships’ shrewdness, the depth and breadth of knowledge and the passion that has persistently shone through when debating issues affecting our Armed Forces. I particularly express my appreciation for the constructive engagement made possible by the noble Lords, Lord Coaker, Lord Tunnicliffe, Lord Thomas of Gresford and Lord Dannatt, the noble Baroness, Lady Smith of Newnham, and the noble and gallant Lords, Lord Boyce, Lord Craig of Radley and Lord Houghton of Richmond.

It is an incontestable fact that all within this House have bought into the spirit of what this Bill seeks to achieve. We all want to do the very best for our Armed Forces community, from the sailors, soldiers and aircrew at the forefront of operations around the world, to the veterans whose days of active service have long since passed, and to the families who unstintingly provide support and are the bedrock to their success. I thank your Lordships for their continuing interest in the Armed Forces.

It would be unacceptably remiss were I not to acknowledge and thank the Bill team under the formidable leadership of Jayne Scheier, supported by her able and committed colleagues. There is a lot of technical detail in the Bill, with complex legal consequences, and the team’s guidance and expertise has been exemplary—as has their patience in supporting a Minister who I am sure must have been very irksome at times.

Before I finish, I remind the House again of the undertakings I made both in Grand Committee and on Report that I will keep the House informed of progress on the recommendations of Sir Richard Henriques’s review. We expect to submit very shortly our response to the House of Commons Defence Committee’s report on women in the Armed Forces; that response is detailed and substantial. This Bill now passes from my stewardship to my colleagues in the other place—so, over to them.

Finally, I pay tribute to the courageous, professional and dedicated men and women in our Armed Forces. We are proud to have the best Armed Forces in the world and, ultimately, this Bill is for them. I beg to move that the Bill do now pass.

Lord Coaker Portrait Lord Coaker (Lab)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

My Lords, it has been a real pleasure for me to see my first Bill through your Lordships’ House on behalf of Her Majesty’s Opposition, with my noble friend Lord Tunnicliffe, who I thank for his support. It has been helped enormously by the generosity of spirit and co-operative attitude of the Minister. I sincerely thank her and her officials for the briefings and advice that we have received throughout the Bill’s passage. I also thank her sincerely for the way in which she has responded to our questions and amendments, and her commitment to reflect on the various points as policies are taken forward by the Ministry of Defence.

In that regard, I also thank the noble Baroness, Lady Smith of Newnham, and her colleagues, notably the noble Lord, Lord Thomas of Gresford, for their collegiate approach, which has helped us all scrutinise the Bill more effectively. I also thank the noble and learned Lord, Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd. Thanks to him, I now understand terms such as “concurrent jurisdiction”. Throughout the Bill, advice from my noble friends Lord West and Lord Reid was gratefully received, as was the tireless and impressive work of Dan Harris, our adviser. It was also a privilege to have my noble and learned friend Lord Morris and my noble friends Lord Browne and Lord Robertson alongside me. Their expertise and experience is a huge asset to our country, as is the active involvement of many noble and gallant Lords, some present here this afternoon. We hope that the Government will further consider the amendments that we have passed back to the other place, which are intended not to undermine the Bill but merely to improve it, and that they will reflect and think again.

We are all united by admiration for our Armed Forces and the service they give to our country. We know that we depend on them to defend our democracy and values at home and across the world, with our allies. We know that those values are likely to be tested again and again over the coming years and decades. The Bill, soon to be an Act, is part of the contract we make as our duty of care for them and their families, and we as Her Majesty’s Official Opposition have been proud to support it.

Baroness Smith of Newnham Portrait Baroness Smith of Newnham (LD)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

My Lords, I join the noble Lord, Lord Coaker, in thanking the Minister, and join her in thanking her officials for the time they have been willing to take to brief the opposition spokespeople here in the Lords, and to answer questions in private, in Grand Committee and in the Chamber. It has been an important process and helpful to have had detailed responses, particularly on some of the legislative aspects, where my noble friend Lord Thomas of Gresford is expert and I am not. It has been very useful to have the legal input, and I am grateful for that.

Like the Minister and the noble Lord, Lord Coaker, I pay tribute to the Armed Forces. The Bill is important, and it is particularly important at this time to be putting the Armed Forces covenant on a statutory footing. We have now left Afghanistan—Op Pitting has just taken place—and, for many of our service personnel and veterans, there will be questions about the end of Op Herrick and what we have managed to achieve. For some, there may be consequences with which, I hope, the Armed Forces covenant will help them deal.

I very much hope that the two amendments passed in your Lordships’ House will go through the other place without needing to come back for ping-pong. I suspect that may not happen but, pending that, I thank the Minister again and hope that the Bill is passed as quickly as possible, because we clearly need it on the statute book by the end of the year.

Lord Craig of Radley Portrait Lord Craig of Radley (CB)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

My Lords, as one of the sponsors of a number of amendments, I have added to the work of the Minister and her Bill team. I add my thanks to her for the way she has dealt with them. The Bill team, having been faced with a very large number of late government amendments, have done a magnificent job; Jayne Scheier and all of them ought to be thanked very much for that effort. I hope that the Minister will not forget that I mentioned the Hong Kong veterans and have yet to have a decent reply about that. The issue has been outstanding for 35 years, so it is about time it was dealt with.

I hope, too, that the amendments we have sent back to the other place will be accepted. Time is short, Covid threatens and it would be sensible if the Government avoided ping-ponging it in this direction again. I thank the Minister very much for all that she has done on this Bill.

Baroness Goldie Portrait Baroness Goldie (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

I thank the noble Baroness, Lady Smith, and noble Lords across the Chamber for their contributions. They reflect what I said in my remarks: we are all united in our admiration for, and desire to support, our Armed Forces. I thank noble Lords for these helpful and constructive comments.

Bill passed and returned to the Commons with amendments.

Public Service Pensions and Judicial Offices Bill [HL]

Report
15:40
Clause 1: Meaning of “remediable service”
Amendment 1
Moved by
1: Clause 1, page 1, line 7, leave out “a person’s service” and insert “any continuous period of service of a person”
Member’s explanatory statement
This amendment clarifies that the definition of “remediable service” applies separately in relation to service of a person that takes place at different times (so that a person may have some service that is “remediable service” and some that is not, and may have more than one period of remediable service).
Viscount Younger of Leckie Portrait Viscount Younger of Leckie (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

My Lords, before I turn to the amendments in this group, I will begin by briefly reminding the House of the driving force behind this Bill and why it is so important that we get it right.

In the light of the Court of Appeal’s judgment, the Government have taken steps to provide an effective remedy to the discrimination that arose in public service pension schemes. The Government have sought to approach this matter responsibly from the outset, and this Bill is key in ensuring an effective remedy for the 3.4 million people who are affected. At the heart of the Bill is fairness and equal treatment for the public servants on whom we all rely. To ensure that we achieve this objective, the Bill is underpinned by the core principles of greater fairness between lower and higher earners, fairness for the taxpayer, future sustainability and affordability of public service pensions.

I recognise that tabling a large volume of amendments is highly unusual at this stage of a Bill’s passage. I want to take a moment to explain why this approach has proved necessary—indeed, crucial—to ensuring a robust and effective remedy. As we have all acknowledged, this is a complex and technical matter. The Bill covers more than 40 schemes which each individually have their own layers of detail and complexity. We are dealing with a somewhat unprecedented issue, and retrospective changes on this scale have not previously been required for occupational pension schemes. However, it is undoubtedly vital that, despite the complexity, we get this right.

Since the Bill was introduced, the Government have continued to work with the schemes, stakeholders and departments to check and re-check it to ensure that it will deliver our commitments to remove the discrimination and offer a complete and effective remedy. The amendments I have tabled today reflect that work and clarify, correct or adjust the Bill to ensure that it works correctly for each of the schemes.

The first group is large and consists of technical amendments. The House will hopefully be pleased to hear that I will not seek to set out the detail of each and every amendment, but I hope your Lordships will find it helpful if I explain the themes that they address. I will of course be happy to turn to specific amendments if your Lordships have any questions.

A large number of the amendments in this group deal with a single theme. In reviewing the Bill, we recognised that a gap exists in how some of the processes operate for members who die before they are able to make a deferred choice. So, 44 amendments are needed to correct the position and ensure that the Bill provides an effective remedy for instances in which a member sadly dies before they reach their retirement. The reason why so many amendments are needed to achieve this outcome is that it must be applied across all the key areas of the remedy so that, for example, any correction of pension benefits or member contributions in relation to a deceased member can be addressed with the member’s personal representatives. The changes must also be made across the provisions for the main schemes and those for the judiciary.

The next theme is amendments which have arisen from work that we have undertaken with each of the public service pension schemes. There are a number of differences between the schemes within the scope of the Bill—for example, to reflect the different needs of the workforces. We have identified some scheme-specific issues that must be reflected in the Bill to ensure that the remedy operates correctly for their members.

15:45
Amendment 5 ensures that the remedy correctly applies to members who were subject to fair deal arrangements. This refers to instances in which employees are subject to a compulsory transfer from the public sector to the private sector, and therefore a period of service in a private sector pension scheme does not count as a
“disqualifying gap in service”
when assessing their eligibility for the remedy. I am grateful to the trade unions for identifying the need for this amendment and I am happy that this has been addressed.
Turning to the firefighters, a technical change is made to Clause 1 setting out the scope of the remedy, to ensure that all affected members of the firefighters’ schemes are included. This clarification is necessary to reflect the fact that the eligibility criteria in certain schemes for firefighters were slightly different to those provided in all other arrangements.
The Armed Forces pension schemes contain features that reflect the unique nature of the Armed Forces. Members of the Armed Forces may qualify for an early departure payment when they leave the service and a separate pension benefit when they subsequently reach pensionable age, which is potentially many years later. Amendments 13 and 16 introduce new clauses to the Bill ensuring that these members make their decision about both entitlements at the time they leave service, therefore avoiding having to revisit payments made under the early departure scheme in future. Similarly, an amendment is made to Clause 10 ensuring that members of the Armed Forces who are discharged as a result of ill health can make an election at the correct time—for example, the point at which they become entitled to an ill-health lump sum on the grounds of incapacity for service. One further amendment is made for the Armed Forces: Clause 88 is amended to ensure that restrictions in the Armed Forces Act 2006 which prohibit pension or pay from being assigned and thus would conflict with the operation of the remedy do not apply to the operation of Part 1 of the Bill.
Turning to family courts, the amendments also deal with specific issues regarding the judiciary. The Bill as drafted allows the Lord Chancellor to consider only the resourcing needs of the magistrates’ court when reappointing retired magistrates. Amendments will allow the Lord Chancellor additionally to consider the needs of the family court, in which magistrates also sit, when making such decisions. This will allow the judiciary to boost capacity when needed to better meet the demands placed on both courts.
Finally on this theme, there are scheme-specific amendments for members of the judiciary and Civil Service. Members of these schemes were provided with the option of alternative pension arrangements and could choose to participate in partnership pension accounts. These are defined contribution arrangements, rather than the main defined benefit schemes. The Bill already allows for this decision to be reversed where the member made their decision as a result of the discrimination that arose. A number of technical amendments to the Bill are being made to ensure that where members wish to be reinstated in the main judicial or civil service pension schemes, that can be done correctly and the member placed in the position they would have been in, had the discrimination not occurred.
Turning to the third theme, a number of corrective or clarifying changes are made to ensure that the Bill operates as intended. Amendments to Clause 1 ensure that where a member has multiple periods of service, those periods are separately considered in determining whether they are subject to the remedy provided by the Bill. These clarifications ensure that a member who was affected by the discrimination will be subject to remedy for each and every period of service that was affected. These amendments are replicated for the judiciary. Following on, there are multiple legacy schemes in most public service workforces. Amendments to Clause 4 ensure that it is clear which legacy scheme a member’s remediable service should be returned to, which is the scheme they would have been eligible to participate in had the discrimination not occurred.
An amendment to Clause 20 clarifies that scheme regulations that make provision about special cases may modify the application of Chapter 1 of the Bill to certain persons. This ensures that scheme regulations can provide an accurate remedy for members with less straightforward circumstances, for example, those who have mixed service—your Lordships may know that otherwise as tapered protection—or have partially retired. Again, equivalent amendments are made for the judiciary.
An amendment is made to Clause 29 to provide greater clarity around the scope of the clause, to ensure that all cases where a person has obtained an immediate detriment remedy are captured—that is, members in relation to whom a scheme has taken actions to correct that member’s position outside the operation of this legislation. Following on, further minor amendments are made to definitions and references to ensure that there is consistency across the Bill.
The final theme specifically deals with tax-related consequences of remedy, to ensure that members are returned to their correct position absent the discrimination. Amendments to Clauses 20 and 55 provide that scheme regulations may make provision for cases where a liability for a lifetime allowance charge or annual allowance charge is settled via the scheme administrator. This is where the scheme pays the tax liability on behalf of the member and adjusts their pension benefits to recover the amount from future payments. The amendments ensure that schemes can vary a member’s benefits to take account of amounts that the member has paid in the past or will pay in the future in respect of the lifetime allowance tax charge, or the annual allowance tax charge, via the scheme.
Although it has been rather lengthy, I hope that my explanation of how the amendments in this group will work has proved helpful. I reiterate that these amendments all share the objective of ensuring that members affected by the discrimination identified by the courts are able to receive a comprehensive remedy in line with the overall approach set out in the Government’s consultation response, on a fair and equal basis. I beg to move.
Lord Davies of Brixton Portrait Lord Davies of Brixton (Lab)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

My Lords, I do not have a current interest to declare, but it would be appropriate to mention that, until the end of August when I gave up the work, I was the paid adviser to a number of trade unions, advising them on this specific issue. It appears in the register of interests for another year, but I no longer have any direct interest.

I have three questions for the Minister. First, he foreshadowed at Second Reading that a raft of amendments was coming. I think it has been suggested that there will be further amendments; clearly not in this House, but there will be a further batch when the Bill is considered in the Commons, which will come back to us. Is this still the case?

Secondly, and more specifically, the Government have made proposals for changes to the cost control mechanism, for which primary legislation will be required. Is it envisaged that they will be made to this Bill or will a separate Bill come forward at a later stage? Before I make my third point, I first thank the Minister very much; he has been extremely open and informative. He has gone out of his way to make sure that we understand what these amendments are for, and I welcome that.

One of the amendments picks up a point I made in my Amendment 6 in Committee relating to the potential payment of remedial AVCs—a wonderful concept. My amendment was obviously very simple, and we now have a much more extensive and substantial change. It will be a complex issue and I recognise that it will be complex to administer. One of the problems we have is that there is a demand, but we have no way of telling how big it will be. The respective scheme advisory boards will have to look at and decide what proportionate and appropriate steps they need to take. I hope the Minister will indicate that they are prepared to facilitate that.

Baroness Janke Portrait Baroness Janke (LD)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

I too thank the Minister for his time and for the engagement he has provided throughout the Bill, particularly regarding these amendments. Considering the scale, complexity and magnitude of the Bill, together with the millions who will be affected by it, I understand that these amendments try to cover a variety of contexts and circumstances to provide a comprehensive remedy to the previous discrimination. I recognise that the whole range of contexts and circumstances means that many will require fine detail. I hope these will, in many ways, support the millions of public sector workers who have suffered discrimination as a result of earlier circumstances.

We will see later some of the specific issues we raised in Committee. I hope the Minister can assure us that these amendments have taken account of those. We will explore that later.

Lord Ponsonby of Shulbrede Portrait Lord Ponsonby of Shulbrede (Lab)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

My Lords, I thank the Minister for his explanation of this extensive group of amendments. I too thank him and his Bill team for engaging with me and my noble friend Lord Davies leading up to Report and for the explanation of the late additions to the Bill. The Minister recognised that it is unusual to bring forward such a large number of amendments at such a late stage. However—and this is unusual on our part—we are content that he has done so. As my noble friend said, we understand that there may be further amendments when the Bill goes to the other place.

We have no objection to the amendments. They are largely technical and clarifying in nature. For example, they would ensure that the Bill operates as intended when a member of one of the affected pension schemes dies. I also accept that adding these amendments now will ensure that the Bill will start its scrutiny in the House of Commons with these points clarified, which we welcome. For these reasons, we are content with this group.

Viscount Younger of Leckie Portrait Viscount Younger of Leckie (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

My Lords, I will make a few very short closing remarks. I thank the noble Lords, Lord Davies and Lord Ponsonby, and the noble Baroness, Lady Janke, for their brief remarks. In particular, I thank the noble Lord, Lord Ponsonby, for his supportive remarks and his understanding—there is probably a better word to use—of what we needed to do for this group of amendments and the next one. I appreciate it.

As I said in my opening remarks, the Bill deals with a complex and unprecedented issue. These amendments reflect the several months of continued work with the schemes, stakeholders and departments to check and recheck the Bill to ensure that it will offer a complete and effective remedy for members affected by the discrimination identified by the Court of Appeal.

The noble Lord, Lord Davies, raised a good point about what might happen next with potential amendments in the Commons, but I reassure him that, as I outlined, this is a highly complex area and the Government are committed to ensuring that members in all relevant schemes receive an effective remedy. We will continue to work closely with stakeholders, including the pension schemes in scope, to consider whether any areas of the Bill require further clarification to ensure legal operability.

I also took note of the points raised by the noble Lord, Lord Davies, concerning additional voluntary contributions and the cost control mechanism. The noble Baroness, Lady Janke, alluded to the fact that we will be addressing them in subsequent groups. I think it probably makes sense to do that, but I have taken note of the noble Lord’s questions, and I am sure he will raise these matters as the afternoon goes on.

Amendment 1 agreed.
16:00
Amendments 2 to 5
Moved by
2: Clause 1, page 2, line 3, after “that” insert “all of”
Member’s explanatory statement
This amendment clarifies that the second condition (which is concerned with whether service is pensionable) must be met in relation to all of the service in question.
3: Clause 1, page 2, line 8, after “normal pension age” insert “or another specified age”
Member’s explanatory statement
This amendment recognises that some legacy schemes offered transitional protection to people who met conditions relating to a lower age than normal pension age.
4: Clause 1, page 2, line 9, leave out subsections (5) and (6) and insert—
“(5) The third condition is that the person—(a) was, on 31 March 2012 or any earlier day, in service in any employment or office that is pensionable service under—(i) a Chapter 1 legacy scheme,(ii) a judicial legacy scheme (within the meaning of Chapter 2), or(iii) a local government legacy scheme (within the meaning of Chapter 3), or(b) is not within paragraph (a) and was, on 31 March 2012, in service as a firefighter which entitled the person to be an active member of a relevant firefighters’ legacy scheme.(6) The fourth condition is that there is no disqualifying gap in service falling within the period—(a) beginning with— (i) in a case in which the third condition is met by virtue of subsection (5)(a), the day after the most recent day in relation to which that condition is met;(ii) in a case in which the third condition is met by virtue of subsection (5)(b), 1 April 2012, and(b) ending with the day before the first day of the service in question.”Member’s explanatory statement
This amendment adjusts the third condition in this clause to cater for the fact that certain schemes for firefighters gave transitional protection to those who on 31 March 2012 were in active service but were not active members of the scheme. The fourth condition is amended consequentially.
5: Clause 1, page 2, line 21, leave out from “which” to end of line 24 and insert—
“(a) is pensionable service under—(i) a Chapter 1 scheme,(ii) a judicial scheme (within the meaning of Chapter 2), or(iii) a local government scheme (within the meaning of Chapter 3), or(b) is, as a result of a Fair Deal transfer, pensionable service under a Fair Deal scheme.”Member’s explanatory statement
This amendment ensures that service in a private sector scheme under Fair Deal arrangements (which, before 2013, governed the pension arrangements that had to be offered to those in public service who were compulsorily transferred to the private sector) does not count as part of a “disqualifying gap in service” for the purposes of the fourth condition.
Amendments 2 to 5 agreed.
Clause 4: Meaning of “the relevant Chapter 1 legacy scheme” etc
Amendments 6 and 7
Moved by
6: Clause 4, page 4, line 12, leave out from “person” to “the” in line 16 and insert “from becoming an active member of”
Member’s explanatory statement
This amendment simplifies the condition in subsection (2)(b).
7: Clause 4, page 4, line 24, leave out paragraphs (a) to (c) and insert—
“(a) at any time after the closing date, the person—(i) opted that their service in the employment or office in question should no longer be pensionable service under a Chapter 1 scheme, or(ii) ceased to be in service in the employment or office in question,(b) at any later time before 1 April 2022, the person—(i) opted that their service in the employment or office in question should again be pensionable service under a Chapter 1 scheme, or(ii) resumed service in the employment or office in question,(c) at that time, the rules of the Chapter 1 legacy scheme mentioned in subsection (1) prohibited a person from becoming an active member of the scheme, and”Member’s explanatory statement
This amendment expands the special case dealt with in subsection (3) in two ways. First, so that it covers those who remained in legacy schemes after the closing date, subsequently opted out, and then decided to opt back in to a Chapter 1 scheme; and second so that it covers those who left service in the employment or office in question after the closing date and subsequently resumed service.
Amendments 6 and 7 agreed.
Clause 5: Election for retrospective provision to apply to opted-out service
Amendments 8 to 11
Moved by
8: Clause 5, page 5, line 42, leave out from “which” to “or” in line 43 and insert “a remediable service statement is first provided in respect of the member”
Member’s explanatory statement
This amendment ensures that the definition is apt for a case in which the member to whom a remediable service statement relates has died.
9: Clause 5, page 6, line 26, at end insert—
“(c) in cases in which any assets and liabilities that are referable to pension contributions made by or on behalf of the person have been transferred out of a partnership pension account, a condition requiring the payment to the scheme of an amount in respect of the transfer.”Member’s explanatory statement
This amendment makes clear that scheme regulations may require that, in a case in which an amount has in the past been transferred out of a partnership pension account, an election under this clause can be made only if a payment in respect of the transfer is made to the Chapter 1 legacy scheme.
10: Clause 5, page 6, line 29, leave out “(1)”
Member’s explanatory statement
This amendment clarifies the reference in subsection (7) of this Clause to the definition of “the relevant Chapter 1 legacy scheme” in Clause 4.
11: Clause 5, page 6, line 30, leave out “the” and insert “any”
Member’s explanatory statement
This amendment clarifies the reference in subsection (7) of this Clause to the definition of “the relevant Chapter 1 legacy scheme” in Clause 4.
Amendments 8 to 11 agreed.
Clause 7: Elections by virtue of section 6: timing and procedure
Amendment 12
Moved by
12: Clause 7, page 7, line 38, leave out from “which” to “or” in line 39 and insert “a remediable service statement is first provided in respect of the member”
Member’s explanatory statement
This amendment ensures that the definition is apt for a case in which the member to whom a remediable service statement relates has died.
Amendment 12 agreed.
Amendment 13
Moved by
13: After Clause 8, insert the following new Clause—
“Persons with remediable service in more than one Chapter 1 legacy scheme
(1) This section applies where—(a) an election is made by virtue of section 6 (immediate choice to receive new scheme benefits) in relation to the remediable service in an employment or office of a member (“M”) of a Chapter 1 legacy scheme that is pensionable service under the scheme, and(b) M has any remediable service in that employment or office that is pensionable service under another Chapter 1 legacy scheme.(2) If M is a relevant member within the meaning of section 6 in relation to the scheme mentioned in subsection (1)(b), the election has effect as an election by virtue of section 6 in relation to M’s remediable service that is pensionable service under that scheme (as well as having effect as such an election in relation to M’s remediable service that is pensionable service under the scheme mentioned in subsection (1)(a)).(3) If M is a relevant member within the meaning of section 9 (deferred choice to receive new scheme benefits) in relation to the scheme mentioned in subsection (1)(b), the election has effect as an election by virtue of section 9 in relation to M’s remediable service that is pensionable service under that scheme (as well as having effect as an election by virtue of section 6 in relation to M’s remediable service that is pensionable service under the scheme mentioned in subsection (1)(a)).”Member’s explanatory statement
This amendment ensures that where a person has remediable service in an employment or office that is pensionable under more than one legacy scheme, the person can opt for new scheme benefits in respect of service in that employment or office in all of those schemes, but cannot opt for new scheme benefits in only some of those schemes.
Amendment 13 agreed.
Clause 10: Elections by virtue of section 9: timing and procedure
Amendments 14 and 15
Moved by
14: Clause 10, page 9, line 5, leave out from “which” to end of line 6 and insert “it is reasonably expected that, if an election were made, new scheme benefits would become payable under the scheme to or in respect of the member.”
Member’s explanatory statement
This amendment adjusts the rule in subsection (2) so that it operates by reference to the time that benefits would become payable in accordance with an election (which may be a different time to the time at which benefits would become payable if no election were made).
15: Clause 10, page 9, line 24, leave out “relevant”
Member’s explanatory statement
This amendment removes a redundant word from subsection (6).
Amendments 14 and 15 agreed.
Amendment 16
Moved by
16: After Clause 11, insert the following new Clause—
“Persons with remediable service in more than one Chapter 1 legacy scheme
(1) This section applies where—(a) an election is made by virtue of section 9 (deferred choice to receive new scheme benefits) in relation to the remediable service in an employment or office of a member (“M”) of a Chapter 1 legacy scheme that is pensionable service under the scheme, and(b) M has any remediable service in that employment or office that is pensionable service under another Chapter 1 legacy scheme. (2) If M is a relevant member within the meaning of section 9 in relation to the scheme mentioned in subsection (1)(b), the election has effect as an election by virtue of section 9 in relation to M’s remediable service that is pensionable service under that scheme (as well as having effect as such an election in relation to M’s remediable service that is pensionable service under the scheme mentioned in subsection (1)(a)).(3) If M is a relevant member within the meaning of section 6 (immediate choice to receive new scheme benefits) in relation to the scheme mentioned in subsection (1)(b), the election has effect as an election by virtue of section 6 in relation to M’s remediable service that is pensionable service under that scheme (as well as having effect as an election by virtue of section 9 in relation to M’s remediable service that is pensionable service under the scheme mentioned in subsection (1)(a)).”Member’s explanatory statement
This amendment ensures that where a person has remediable service in an employment or office that is pensionable under more than one legacy scheme, the person can opt for new scheme benefits in respect of service in that employment or office in all of those schemes, but cannot opt for new scheme benefits in only some of those schemes.
Amendment 16 agreed.
Clause 13: Pension contributions: pensioner and deceased members
Amendment 17
Moved by
17: Clause 13, page 11, line 42, at end insert—
“(6A) A reference in subsection (6) to pension contributions paid by M includes, in relation to any pension contributions paid under a partnership pension account, such sums as are deducted by M under section 192 of FA 2004 (relief at source).”Member’s explanatory statement
This amendment clarifies that “the paid contributions amount” defined in subsection (6) includes tax relief deducted at source.
Amendment 17 agreed.
Clause 14: Pension contributions: active and deferred members (immediate correction)
Amendments 18 to 21
Moved by
18: Clause 14, page 12, line 29, leave out “M” and insert “the appropriate person”
Member’s explanatory statement
This is one of a number of amendments clarifying or adjusting the processes and powers under Part 1 of the Bill so that they operate as intended in cases in which a member dies.
19: Clause 14, page 12, line 33, leave out “M” and insert “the appropriate person”
Member’s explanatory statement
This is one of a number of amendments clarifying or adjusting the processes and powers under Part 1 of the Bill so that they operate as intended in cases in which a member dies.
20: Clause 14, page 12, line 39, at end insert—
“(5A) A reference in subsection (5) to pension contributions paid by M includes, in relation to any pension contributions paid under a partnership pension account, such sums as are deducted by M under section 192 of FA 2004 (relief at source).”Member’s explanatory statement
This amendment clarifies that “the paid contributions amount” defined in subsection (5) includes tax relief deducted at source.
21: Clause 14, page 12, line 41, at end insert—
“(6A) In this section “the appropriate person” means—(a) M, or(b) if M is deceased, M’s personal representatives.”Member’s explanatory statement
This is one of a number of amendments clarifying or adjusting the processes and powers under Part 1 of the Bill so that they operate as intended in cases in which a member dies.
Amendments 18 to 21 agreed.
Clause 15: Pension contributions: active and deferred members (deferred correction)
Amendments 22 to 25
Moved by
22: Clause 15, page 13, line 22, leave out “M” and insert “the appropriate person”
Member’s explanatory statement
This is one of a number of amendments clarifying or adjusting the processes and powers under Part 1 of the Bill so that they operate as intended in cases in which a member dies.
23: Clause 15, page 13, line 26, leave out “M” and insert “the appropriate person”
Member’s explanatory statement
This is one of a number of amendments clarifying or adjusting the processes and powers under Part 1 of the Bill so that they operate as intended in cases in which a member dies.
24: Clause 15, page 13, line 32, at end insert—
“(5A) A reference in subsection (5) to pension contributions paid by M includes, in relation to any pension contributions paid under a partnership pension account, such sums as are deducted by M under section 192 of FA 2004 (relief at source).”Member’s explanatory statement
This amendment clarifies that “the paid contributions amount” defined in subsection (5) includes tax relief deducted at source.
25: Clause 15, page 13, line 40, at end insert—
“(7A) In this section “the appropriate person” means—(a) M, or(b) if M is deceased, M’s personal representatives.”Member’s explanatory statement
This is one of a number of amendments clarifying or adjusting the processes and powers under Part 1 of the Bill so that they operate as intended in cases in which a member dies.
Amendments 22 to 25 agreed.
Clause 18: Voluntary contributions
Amendment 26
Moved by
26: Clause 18, page 15, line 34, leave out subsection (2)
Member’s explanatory statement
This amendment is in consequence of the government amendment of clause 92 which applies the definition of “voluntary contributions” to the whole of Part 1.
Viscount Younger of Leckie Portrait Viscount Younger of Leckie
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

My Lords, this second group consists of three technical areas of amendments. I reassure the House that my remarks will be somewhat shorter than on the previous group. As before, I will set out the key themes in each area, rather than talking through the detail of each amendment. The three key themes these amendments relate to are: first, matters concerning voluntary contributions; secondly, flexibility in delivering the remedy in respect of judicial scheme members; and, thirdly, the closure of old schemes. Once again, I will be happy to turn to specific amendments if your Lordships have any questions they would like to raise.

Before I turn to the first area of amendments, which relate to member voluntary contributions, I thank the noble Lord, Lord Davies of Brixton, to whom I am most grateful for raising this matter in Grand Committee, which has assisted the Government in developing these new amendments. I gave the noble Lord assurances in Grand Committee that the Government would consider how the Bill should provide for members who were prevented from making voluntary contributions to the legacy schemes as a result of the discrimination that arose, and I am pleased to be able to bring forward amendments to that effect now.

First, these amendments insert new clauses so that scheme regulations may allow members to enter into remedial voluntary contributions arrangements where they would have done so had the discrimination not arisen. Additionally, the amendments ensure that information that must be provided to members includes information about remedial voluntary contribution arrangements as well as details of the eligibility criteria and the process for entering into those arrangements.

Secondly, these amendments will amend Clause 18 to ensure that the provisions work correctly in relation to persons other than a member who may obtain rights in relation to a member’s voluntary contributions.

Thirdly, the amendments clarify that, where compensation is paid to members of the judiciary representing an amount that was paid as voluntary contributions less the tax relief they received at the time, any rights that were associated with those contributions are extinguished. The amendments also clarify that, where the member is deceased, the compensation should be made to the member’s personal representatives.

Finally, the amendments add a new clause to provide that no new arrangements to pay voluntary contributions may be entered into after 31 March 2022 in a legacy scheme. This reflects the fact that the legacy schemes will close on that date. However, any existing voluntary contributions arrangements that members may have entered prior to 1 April 2022 may continue. Additionally, this prohibition does not apply to the new clauses which permit members to enter into remedial voluntary contributions arrangements in the specific circumstances I have set out.

Let me now turn to the second area of amendments in this group. These are technical amendments required to ensure the remedy can be applied most effectively in respect of judicial scheme members. Clause 65 defines the election period as a three-month period beginning with such date as is specified by the relevant authority and that the relevant authority may extend the election period in relation to a particular person, if they consider it just and equitable to do so.

It is important that judges in scope of the remedy have enough time to make an informed decision regarding their scheme membership for the remedy period. Therefore, amendments are made to Clauses 65 and 60 to provide for further flexibility to respond to judges’ individual circumstances by allowing for there to be more than one election period, and for an information statement to be sent to each member before the start of their respective election period.

Finally, I come to the third and final area in this group. This last area amends the valuations and governance framework for public service pension schemes to ensure that it operates correctly when old schemes established under the Public Service Pensions Act 2013, or its Northern Ireland equivalent, are closed and new schemes are established. In the present context, these amendments are most relevant to the reformed judicial pension scheme that is set to replace the 2015 scheme. However, the same issues will arise if, in future, other schemes are closed and new ones created.

Schemes that are closed to future accrual do not require future stand-alone valuations. A new clause will ensure that these are no longer required and that an employer cost cap need not be set for the purpose of measuring changes in the costs of those schemes under the cost control mechanism.

The new clause will also allow existing governance frameworks to be carried over from old schemes to new schemes. Additionally, an amendment to Clause 80 will ensure that the cost control mechanism can operate correctly by ensuring that the employer cost cap of a new scheme can be set after the regulations have been created.

I hope the House will agree that, important though they are, all three sets of amendments I have outlined in this group make necessary technical changes to the existing legislation so as to ensure that the remedy can operate as intended. With that, I beg to move.

Baroness Janke Portrait Baroness Janke (LD)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

My Lords, I thank the Minister for responding to many of the issues that arose in Committee and welcome the additional flexibility with regard to the voluntary contributions and the period when remedial contributions can be made.

I would like to question the eligibility for voluntary contributions. One of the areas we discussed was about people—for example, with caring responsibilities—who would wish to make up their pension and in their legacy scheme would have been able to do that. Examples include women who have taken time out to look after children or people with caring responsibilities who have done the same. Will these members have the chance to make these remedial contributions to augment their pensions, as they would have been able to within the legacy scheme? Perhaps the Minister could clear that up for me.

Lord Ponsonby of Shulbrede Portrait Lord Ponsonby of Shulbrede (Lab)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

My Lords, once again I thank the Minister for his explanation of this group. We are content for these changes to be made to the Bill. I particularly welcome the provisions on voluntary contributions, which will now allow for a member to make voluntary contributions where they would have done, but did not due to the pension changes that led to the arising discrimination. This responds to a concern raised by pension schemes and by my noble friend Lord Davies in Committee, which was recognised by the Minister. I wonder whether the Minister can give us an assurance that more information will be forthcoming, over the Bill’s passage through the Commons, on how this will be provided for in practice.

I also welcome the provision providing flexibility for judges over their election period and that every member must be provided with an information statement by the scheme before their election period starts. At later stages this afternoon we will come back to this question of how information and guidance are provided to members and how they will access support. That is in an amendment to be moved by the noble Baroness, Lady Janke. I am glad to see that this has been recognised, at least to some extent, in this group. We are happy to support these amendments.

Viscount Younger of Leckie Portrait Viscount Younger of Leckie (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

My Lords, once again, my closing remarks will be relatively brief. I thank the noble Baroness, Lady Janke, and the noble Lord, Lord Ponsonby, for their broad support for these amendments. As one or two questions were raised, I will give some more information on additional voluntary contributions, which may be helpful, particularly with regard to the question on eligibility raised by the noble Baroness.

The proposed new clauses provide that scheme regulations may not permit a member to enter into such arrangements after one year from the day on which the member is provided with their remediable service statement, or their information statement in the case of the judiciary, or such later time as the scheme manager considers reasonable. The proposed new clauses will be subject to Treasury directions, which I understand we will be speaking about in a later group—under Clause 24 for Chapter 1 schemes and under Clause 58 for judicial schemes. This is set out in Amendments 45 and 90, and is consistent with the similar powers in Part 1 of the Bill. These directions will help to ensure that scheme regulations take a consistent approach, which is very important in providing members with remedial voluntary contribution arrangements.

I hope that this offers some explanation but, again, bearing in mind the technical nature of the noble Baroness’s question, I will be keen to read Hansard and will write if further information is required.

Amendment 26 agreed.
Amendments 27 to 30
Moved by
27: Clause 18, page 16, line 9, leave out “member in question” and insert “person whose rights are extinguished”
Member’s explanatory statement
This amendment recognises that persons other than the member who pays voluntary contributions (for example their spouse) may obtain rights in consequence of the contributions.
28: Clause 18, page 16, line 11, leave out from beginning to “secured” in line 12 and insert “rights are conferred under a Chapter 1 scheme that would have been”
Member’s explanatory statement
This amendment recognises that persons other than the member who pays voluntary contributions (for example their spouse) may obtain rights in consequence of the contributions.
29: Clause 18, page 16, line 14, after “scheme” insert “manager”
Member’s explanatory statement
This amendment is to clarify that a payment of compensation under regulations under subsection (6)(c) of this Clause would, like other payments of compensation by virtue of Part 1 (such as those under Clause 21), be paid by the relevant scheme manager.
30: Clause 18, page 16, line 14, leave out “in question” and insert “who paid the contributions or, if that member is deceased, that member’s personal representatives”
Member’s explanatory statement
This is one of a number of amendments clarifying or adjusting the processes and powers under Part 1 of the Bill so that they operate as intended in cases in which a member dies.
Amendments 27 to 30 agreed.
Clause 20: Further powers to make provision about special cases
Amendments 31 to 37
Moved by
31: Clause 20, page 17, line 17, at end insert—
“(aa) provision about the benefits payable to or in respect of a member who has remediable service in an employment or office where—(i) there is another Chapter 1 scheme that provides benefits for persons in that employment or office, and(ii) the two schemes provide (or in any circumstances might provide) benefits to or in respect of a person in relation to the same period of service;”Member’s explanatory statement
This amendment is to enable provision to be made where service may entitle a person to benefits under more than one scheme (for example, some service in the armed forces entitles a person both to early departure payments under one scheme and (when they are older) to pension payments under another scheme).
32: Clause 20, page 17, line 29, leave out paragraph (d) and insert—
“(d) provision about cases in which the scheme administrator of a Chapter 1 scheme pays a liability under section 217 or 237B of FA 2004 (joint liability of scheme administrator to lifetime allowance charge or annual allowance charge);”Member’s explanatory statement
This amendment generalises the power in subsection (2)(d) of this Clause so that it confers power to make provision about any case in which a member’s liability to a lifetime allowance charge, or an annual allowance charge, is paid under the “scheme pays” facility (under which the liability is paid by the scheme administrator and the member’s benefits are reduced in consequence).
33: Clause 20, page 17, line 32, at end insert—
“(e) provision about cases in which remuneration is or was payable to a person on the satisfaction of a condition relating to whether any remediable service of the person is or was, or is or was eligible to be, pensionable service under a particular Chapter 1 scheme (including provision requiring any such remuneration that has been paid to be repaid).”Member’s explanatory statement
This amendment is to enable provision to be made under this Clause about employments etc (such as the armed forces) in which a person’s pay may be determined by reference to whether their service is (or is eligible to be) pensionable service under a particular scheme.
34: Clause 20, page 17, line 32, at end insert—
“(f) provision about cases in which a former member of the armed forces—(i) is, disregarding section 2 (1), entitled under regulation 19 of AFEDP 2014 (lump sum awards: incapacity for armed forces service) to a payment determined (to any extent) by reference to the person’s remediable service in an employment or office, or(ii) would be entitled under that regulation to such a payment if the benefits payable to the person, so far as determined by reference the person’s remediable service in the employment or office, were new scheme benefits.”Member’s explanatory statement
This amendment is to enable provision to be made under this clause to ensure that the Chapter works fairly for members of the armed forces who would be entitled to an incapacity lump sum under the new armed forces scheme, even if they would not have been entitled to such a payment under the rules of the legacy scheme.
35: Clause 20, page 17, line 32, at end insert—
“(2A) Scheme regulations for a Chapter 1 new scheme may make provision about injury and compensation benefits payable under a relevant injury and compensation scheme to or in respect of a member who has remediable service in an employment or office.(2B) Provision made under subsection (2A) may in particular be made by amending the relevant injury and compensation scheme.(2C) In subsections (2A) and (2B) and this subsection—(a) “injury and compensation scheme” means a pension scheme that is listed in Schedule 6 to PSPA 2013 or Schedule 6 to PSPA(NI) 2014 (existing injury and compensation schemes);(b) an injury and compensation scheme is “relevant”, in relation to a Chapter 1 new scheme, if it is connected with the Chapter 1 new scheme;(c) a reference to “injury and compensation benefits” payable under an injury and compensation scheme is a reference to—(i) in the case of an injury and compensation scheme in relation to which Schedule 6 to PSPA 2013 or Schedule 6 to PSPA(NI) 2014 specifies particular benefits, those benefits;(ii) in the case of any other injury and compensation scheme, any benefits payable under the scheme.”Member’s explanatory statement
Where Chapter 1 of Part 1 retrospectively alters pension benefits payable to or in respect of a person, this may require retrospective changes also to be made to injury and compensation benefits to which the person is entitled (for example where their amount is calculated in a way that takes account of the amount of pension benefits payable). This amendment provides a power to ensure that appropriate provision can be made in such cases.
36: Clause 20, page 17, leave out lines 35 to 38 and insert—
“(a) provision modifying any provision of this Chapter in its application to persons of a description specified in the regulations;(b) provision corresponding to, or applying, any provision of this Chapter, with or without modifications.”Member’s explanatory statement
This amendment clarifies the way in which special cases may be dealt with in regulations.
37: Clause 20, page 17, line 38, at end insert—
“(4) In this section— “AFEDP 2014” means the Armed Forces Early Departure Payments Scheme Regulations 2014 (S.I. 2014/2328);“modifying” includes disapplying or supplementing (and cognate expressions are to be construed accordingly);“scheme administrator” has the same meaning as in Part 4 of FA 2004 (see section 270 of that Act);“the armed forces” has the same meaning as in PSPA 2013 (see paragraph 8 of Schedule 1 to that Act).”Member’s explanatory statement
This amendment inserts definitions required for other government amendments of this Clause.
Amendments 31 to 37 agreed.
Clause 21: Power to pay compensation
Amendments 38 and 39
Moved by
38: Clause 21, page 17, line 42, at end insert “or, in the case of deceased members, their personal representatives.”
Member’s explanatory statement
This amendment ensures that, where a member has died, compensation can be paid to the member’s personal representatives if they incur a compensatable loss.
39: Clause 21, page 18, line 1, after “member” insert “, or by a member’s personal representatives,”
Member’s explanatory statement
This amendment ensures that, where a member has died, compensation can be paid to the member’s personal representatives if they incur a compensatable loss.
Amendments 38 and 39 agreed.
Amendment 40
Moved by
40: Clause 21, page 18, line 13, at end insert—
“(6A) In subsection (5), a loss “attributable to the application of any provision of, or made under, this Chapter” includes a loss incurred by a member with remediable service who—(a) is transferred to the new scheme and reaches the required number of years of pensionable service to retire with full benefits under the legacy scheme, but(b) is unable to access the full value of those benefits because they must continue to work to retire with full benefits under the new scheme.”Member’s explanatory statement
This amendment provides that certain losses arising from the interaction of the rules of the new and legacy schemes respectively will be compensated.
Lord Davies of Brixton Portrait Lord Davies of Brixton (Lab)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

My Lords, this amendment is about what has been termed “the pension trap”. Much concern has been expressed about this phenomenon by different groups and members of different schemes, not least the Police Superintendents’ Association and the Fire Brigades Union. It is important to be clear that this issue affects all the major public service schemes. It is more salient in the uniformed service schemes as they previously had a much lower pension age, so the impact of the pension trap is more significant, but it runs through all the schemes. When you put two schemes together that work on significantly different bases, problems can arise that perhaps we should have spotted at an earlier stage of the discussions on the scheme.

The key issue concerns where you combine schemes with different normal retirement ages in the legacy and new schemes respectively, and the impact of extending working lives in that situation. Extending working lives has been a theme of the reform of public service pensions, so we should perhaps have thought through this a little more clearly. I may have been a little to blame myself in my previous life. When the issue was first raised I was somewhat doubtful but, the more I have looked at it, the more I have come to appreciate that it is a real problem.

The underlying problem is where the combined benefits, old and new, do not reflect the benefits that the members lose by having a later retirement age. They suffer a net loss. With most private sector schemes and the new state or public service schemes, if you defer your retirement, you get some credit: you lose a year’s worth of pension because you have decided to retire a year later, but the money that you have surrendered by doing so is used to increase the subsequent pension. Whether you take the pension at 65, 60 or 67, overall, the broad value of your benefits remains the same. This contrasts with the situation in most, if not all, of the significant public service schemes, where, if you defer your retirement, you simply lose that year’s benefit and receive no credit for it. The reason for this difference between public and private schemes is lost in the mists of time.

16:15
The problem now is that scheme members are effectively forced to defer their retirement to accrue benefits in the new scheme but, because they are forced to defer their benefits in the legacy scheme, they are losing money. This can be significant amounts for those involved. I provided a detailed example in Committee, and I will not go through it all again—but, for example, a police constable who will be aged 40 next year and has been in the service since joining at 18 has accrued a decent pension under the legacy scheme. They could have retired at 51 on an unreduced pension but, because they are required to remain in service to further build their pension in the new scheme, they cannot afford to take it. Each year that they put off retirement in the legacy scheme, they lose the pension for that year, which they otherwise would have expected. A typical sum might be as much as £18,000 a year. So they put off their retirement until they are 52, and lose a year’s pension but are still required to face a significant reduction in their new pension because they are taking it early. Ultimately, if they keep working until they are 60, when they can get their full pension under the new scheme, they have lost nine years’ worth—at £18,000 a year—of pension funds in the legacy scheme. They incur a further loss because, each year that they stay in service, the lump sum that they can take from the scheme is reduced as well. We are talking about significant sums because of the interaction between the two schemes that they are required to belong to in order to accrue a decent pension.
The members concerned think that this simply cannot be right, and I share that view. It was not the intention that, when people were asked to work longer than they originally expected, they would lose substantial amounts in the value of their pension because of that. I hope that the Minister will give an indication that the Government take the problem seriously and realise that there is an issue here. I readily admit that my amendment does not completely solve the problem—no doubt I will be told so—but it effectively raises it and puts it before the Government. They can then give an indication that they take the problem seriously and will seek from the respective scheme advisory board—each public service pension scheme has one—a workable solution so that people to whom we owe a substantial debt do not incur a potentially unintended loss from the new combined scheme to which they have to belong.
Baroness Janke Portrait Baroness Janke (LD)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

I thank the noble Lord, Lord Davies, for his explanation of the amendment. I know we had quite a lot of discussion about this in Committee. My understanding of it in this specific case is how it affects members of the Police Superintendents’ Association. Previously, a number of years’ service entitled them to their pensions whereas the new scheme is age-related. As the noble Lord, Lord Davies, said, that prevents them being able either to retire early and still have their pension, as was guaranteed, or work later to augment their pension.

This is an important issue, particularly in terms of public services such as the police, where undertakings were given and promises made. These were parts of agreements about pay levels and general conditions of service. So I believe the Government have some obligations here, and I very much hope that this can be looked at further as the scheme progresses and that it can be evaluated and solutions found. I hope the Minister can give us some clarification on that. I certainly support the spirit of the amendment and hope that we can resolve this in future.

Lord Ponsonby of Shulbrede Portrait Lord Ponsonby of Shulbrede (Lab)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

My Lords, my noble friend Lord Davies has given a thorough explanation of this issue, which will impact members of certain public service pension schemes. I simply echo the hope that the Government will look carefully at this issue before the Bill goes into its Commons stages.

To reinforce the point made by the noble Baroness, Lady Janke, the Police Superintendents’ Association has reported that this issue is one of the most-raised questions in sessions that it is holding with its members, and it is trying to talk through the possible remedies and related pension issues as they affect police superintendents. This is an unintended consequence that has arisen due to the current complexities, rather than an intentional outcome of what the Government are seeking to do.

With that in mind, could the Minister inform us, first, whether the Government have considered ways to remedy this issue, in which certain members will be caught, and, secondly, what ongoing consultation and engagement are the Government undertaking with those who are affected? I will be interested to hear the Minister’s response.

Viscount Younger of Leckie Portrait Viscount Younger of Leckie (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

My Lords, I thank the noble Lord, Lord Davies of Brixton, for raising this issue again today, and I thank other noble Lords for their comments.

Clause 21 provides the power for scheme managers to pay compensation for certain losses incurred by members. Compensation can be paid for losses that satisfy any of the three conditions set out in subsections (4) to (6) and are of a description specified in Treasury directions.

It might be helpful for the House if I set out the background and purpose of the clause. I hope I can provide the clarifications that have been asked for by the noble Baroness and both noble Lords. The purpose of the clause is to confer power on scheme managers to make payments in relation to compensatable losses. This is an important element of the remedy provided by the Bill. The Government have set out to Parliament, in public announcements and to the courts that we will take steps to remedy the discrimination that occurred when transitional protection was provided to some members when the public pension schemes were reformed in 2015. That means taking steps to place members as far as possible back into the position where they would have been had the discrimination not occurred.

Clause 21 provides for compensation in relation to losses incurred as a result of the discrimination or the retrospective remedy provided by the Bill, or in respect of certain tax losses. The clause allows for matters that are not directly remedied by other provisions of the Bill or by the intended scheme regulations to be put right. As I understand it, having listened carefully to the speech from the noble Lord, Lord Davies, the intended effect of his amendment is to compensate members who reach the required length of service to retire with full benefits in their legacy scheme before they reach the necessary age to retire with full benefits in their reformed scheme. The amendment appears to relate closely to representations made by police staff associations, which a number of speakers mentioned, regarding members of the 1987 and 2015 police pension schemes who reach 30 years of service in the legacy pension scheme before reaching minimum pension age in the reformed scheme.

However, by referring to “full benefits” in the reformed pension scheme, the noble Lord’s amendment appears to go considerably beyond these representations and proposals, effectively requiring compensation for those below normal pension age, not minimum pension age, in the reformed scheme. I know that he raised the question of whether this applies to all public servants. Perhaps I may just gently put him right—I defer to his greater knowledge but I will put him right on this—that it does not.

As implied by the reference to the required number of years in the amendment text, this issue arises for members of schemes where retirement on full benefits is based on length of service rather than age. The 1987 police pension scheme falls into that. Members of other public service pension schemes will often move from a scheme where the normal pension age is 60 to a scheme where the NPA is equal to state pension age. However, it is not quite the same issue as the normal pension age and a legacy scheme, for these members will be higher than the minimum pension age in their reformed scheme. I hope that offers a reasoned explanation.

Turning to the police pension scheme, under the Bill all members in active service on 31 March 2022 will be moved into the reformed 2015 police pension scheme in respect of service from 1 April 2022 onwards. That is what is known as a “prospective remedy” to ensure that all active members are treated equally from that date onwards. I am grateful for the hard work and extraordinary dedication shown by police officers. The Government support the police and the important work that they do to protect the public, and recognise that they face changing demands from crime.

The reformed police pension scheme is, rightly, one of the most generous pension schemes in the United Kingdom. Moreover, members with service under the 1987 police pension scheme are already afforded significant protections in the Bill, including by maintaining the final salary link of the 1987 scheme and the protection of weighted accrual. This means that accruals in the 1987 scheme will be calculated in relation to a member’s final salary when they retire or otherwise leave the police pension scheme of 2015 in the future, not their salary at the point when they leave the police pension scheme of 1987 on 31 March 2022. The improved accrual rate linked to length of service in the older scheme is also protected and will remain the same in relation to service in those legacy schemes.

The Government have been considering the issues raised by the police representatives and this amendment carefully, including the question of whether there are viable policy mitigations. I want to answer the important point raised by the noble Lord, Lord Ponsonby, on engagement. The Home Office is also currently consulting on detailed regulations to implement the prospective McCloud remedy for the police pension scheme; I hope that provides some reassurance that this is an important matter. That includes communication as well. However, the Government must not take action that would be contrary to the Bill’s intention to remove the discrimination identified by the courts and to ensure that all members are treated equally from 1 April 2022 by accruing service in the reformed schemes, regardless of their age.

It is important to stress that the Court of Appeal found in the McCloud and Sargeant cases in 2018 that the transitional protections offered under the PSPA 2013 amounted to unlawful discrimination against younger members, because they allowed older members to accrue service in the legacy schemes for longer because of their age. Accordingly, offering compensation to members depending on their age and resulting position relative to service length and normal pension age would risk perpetuating such unlawful discrimination through different means. This is an important point of clarification for the noble Lord, Lord Davies.

I thank the noble Lord for bringing attention to this issue and reassure him that the Government have been considering the position of these members, including the viability of policy solutions such as the proposal submitted by police staff associations. However, careful consideration must be given to the need to avoid introducing new discrimination against other pension scheme members—I made this point earlier—and a broadly drafted amendment to the Bill risks doing just that. I therefore ask, with that rather full explanation, the noble Lord to withdraw his amendment.

16:30
Lord Davies of Brixton Portrait Lord Davies of Brixton (Lab)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

I thank the Minister for his detailed reply. At the appropriate time, I will indicate my intention to withdraw the amendment.

First, I want to say that the purpose and intention of the amendment—I never believed that it was complete in itself—was to prod the Government into taking the issue seriously. The problem arises in any scheme where, if you do not take your pension at the scheme pension age, you do not get any credit for giving up the pension that you lose by deferring your retirement. That is the underlying problem, and it occurs across the public sector. It is currently far more acute, as we have been told in detail by the Fire Brigades Union and the Police Superintendents’ Association.

I have no doubt that the real solution to this issue lies in scheme-level discussions, but such discussions will take place only if the Government give an indication that they take this issue seriously and want the respective scheme advisory boards to discuss and address the issue and seek out practical solutions. Whether they can be funded, and the extent to which any solution would fall within the cost cap and so not incur substantial additional cost, would have to be addressed as part of those discussions. That is all I am asking for.

I am grateful to the House for the opportunity to raise this issue. On that basis, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment 40 withdrawn.
Amendments 41 and 42
Moved by
41: Clause 21, page 18, line 44, leave out “the member” and insert “any person”
Member’s explanatory statement
This is one of a number of amendments clarifying or adjusting the processes and powers under Part 1 of the Bill so that they operate as intended in cases in which a member dies.
42: Clause 21, page 19, line 1, leave out “the member” and insert “any person”
Member’s explanatory statement
This is one of a number of amendments clarifying or adjusting the processes and powers under Part 1 of the Bill so that they operate as intended in cases in which a member dies.
Amendments 41 and 42 agreed.
Amendment 43
Moved by
43: After Clause 22, insert the following new Clause—
“Remedial arrangements to pay voluntary contributions to legacy schemes
(1) Scheme regulations for a Chapter 1 legacy scheme may make provision so as to secure that a relevant member may enter into remedial voluntary contributions arrangements.(2) In subsection (1)—“relevant member”, in relation to a Chapter 1 legacy scheme, means a member (other than a deceased member) who has remediable service in an employment or office which, after the coming into force of section 2 (1) in relation to the scheme, is pensionable service under the scheme (whether or not by virtue of that provision);“remedial voluntary contributions arrangements” means arrangements—(a) which are entered into by a member after the coming into force of section 2 (1) in relation to the scheme, and(b) under which the member pays voluntary contributions to the scheme.(3) Provision by virtue of subsection (1) may permit a member (“M”) to enter into arrangements only if the scheme manager is satisfied that it is more likely than not that, but for a relevant breach of a non-discrimination rule, M would, during the period of M’s remediable service in the employment or office, have entered into the same or similar arrangements.(4) The provision that may be made by virtue of subsection (1) includes, in particular, provision under which liabilities to pay voluntary contributions that would otherwise arise under the arrangements are reduced by tax relief amounts.(5) In subsection (4) “tax relief amounts” means amounts determined by reference to the tax relief under section 188 of FA 2004 (relief for members’ contributions) that would have been available in respect of the amounts owed if they were paid in a different tax year.(6) Provision by virtue of subsection (1) may not permit a member (“M”) to enter into arrangements after—(a) the end of the period of one year beginning with the day on which a remediable service statement is first provided in respect of M, or(b) such later time as the scheme manager considers reasonable in all the circumstances.(7) Subsection (6) does not affect the continued operation after the time mentioned in that subsection of any remedial arrangements entered into before that time.(8) In this section “non-discrimination rule” means a rule that is, or at any time was, included in a Chapter 1 scheme by virtue of—(a) section 61 of EA 2010, or(b) paragraph 2 of Schedule 1 to EEAR(NI) 2006.(9) For the purposes of this section a breach of a non-discrimination rule is “relevant” if it arises from the application of—(a) an exception to section 18(1) of PSPA 2013 made under section 18(5) to (7) of that Act, or(b) an exception to section 18(1) of PSPA(NI) 2014 made under section 18(5) to (8) of that Act.”Member’s explanatory statement
This Clause makes it possible for a Chapter 1 legacy scheme to make provision giving members with remediable service the facility to enter into new arrangements to pay voluntary contributions. The facility may only be made available to members who show that they would have entered into similar arrangements but for unlawful discrimination, and may be made available only for a limited period.
Amendment 43 agreed.
Clause 23: Interest and process
Amendments 44 and 45
Moved by
44: Clause 23, page 19, line 33, leave out first “member” and insert “person”
Member’s explanatory statement
This is one of a number of amendments clarifying or adjusting the processes and powers under Part 1 of the Bill so that they operate as intended in cases in which a member dies.
45: Clause 23, page 19, line 33, leave out second “member” and insert “person”
Member’s explanatory statement
This is one of a number of amendments clarifying or adjusting the processes and powers under Part 1 of the Bill so that they operate as intended in cases in which a member dies.
Amendments 44 and 45 agreed.
Clause 24: Treasury directions
Amendments 46 to 49
Moved by
46: Clause 24, page 20, line 19, at end insert—
“(ha) the power to make scheme regulations by virtue of section (Remedial arrangements to pay voluntary contributions to legacy schemes) (remedial arrangements to pay voluntary contributions to legacy schemes) and any powers exercisable by virtue of such regulations;”Member’s explanatory statement
This amendment ensures that Treasury directions can be used in relation to remedial voluntary contributions arrangements.
47: Clause 24, page 20, line 23, leave out from “paid” to “or any” and insert “by or to a scheme in relation to a member”
Member’s explanatory statement
This is one of a number of amendments clarifying or adjusting the processes and powers under Part 1 of the Bill so that they operate as intended in cases in which a member dies.
48: Clause 24, page 20, line 25, after “member” insert “and (if different) the person to whom or by whom the amount is to be paid or the liability is owed”
Member’s explanatory statement
This amendment ensures subsection (3) of this Clause operates as intended in a case in which an amount is payable to or by a person who is not the member who has remediable service (for example a surviving adult or personal representatives).
49: Clause 24, page 20, line 27, leave out “the member” and insert “that person or those persons”
Member’s explanatory statement
This amendment ensures subsection (3) of this Clause operates as intended in a case in which an amount is payable to or by a person who is not the member who has remediable service (for example a surviving adult or personal representatives).
Amendments 46 to 49 agreed.
Clause 26: Remediable service statements
Amendment 50
Moved by
50: Clause 26, page 21, line 27, at end insert “, and
(d) a description of—(i) the arrangements (if any) that, by virtue of section (Remedial arrangements to pay voluntary contributions to legacy schemes) (remedial arrangements to pay voluntary contributions to legacy schemes), may be entered into under the scheme, and (ii) the circumstances in which, and the process by which, such arrangements may be entered into.”Member’s explanatory statement
The amendment ensures that a statement under this clause includes information to enable the recipient to decide whether they are entitled to enter into new arrangements to pay voluntary contributions, and if so how to go about doing it.
Amendment 50 agreed.
Clause 28: Application of Chapter to immediate detriment cases
Amendments 51 and 52
Moved by
51: Clause 28, page 22, line 36, leave out from “if” to “in” in line 37 and insert “an immediate detriment remedy has been obtained”
Member’s explanatory statement
This is one of a number of amendments clarifying or adjusting the processes and powers under Part 1 of the Bill so that they operate as intended in cases in which a member dies.
52: Clause 28, page 22, line 39, leave out from “have” to “so” in line 40 and insert “rights in respect of remediable service in relation to which an immediate detriment remedy has been obtained”
Member’s explanatory statement
This is one of a number of amendments clarifying or adjusting the processes and powers under Part 1 of the Bill so that they operate as intended in cases in which a member dies.
Amendments 51 and 52 agreed.
Clause 29: Persons who have “benefited from an immediate detriment remedy”
Amendments 53 to 56
Moved by
53: Clause 29, page 23, line 15, leave out from “of” to “person’s” in line 16 and insert “section 28 an “immediate detriment remedy” has been obtained in relation to a”
Member’s explanatory statement
This is one of a number of amendments clarifying or adjusting the processes and powers under Part 1 of the Bill so that they operate as intended in cases in which a member dies.
54: Clause 29, page 23, line 20, leave out “the” and insert “any”
Member’s explanatory statement
This is one of a number of amendments clarifying or adjusting the processes and powers under Part 1 of the Bill so that they operate as intended in cases in which a member dies.
55: Clause 29, page 23, line 28, leave out second “the” and insert “any”
Member’s explanatory statement
This is one of a number of amendments clarifying or adjusting the processes and powers under Part 1 of the Bill so that they operate as intended in cases in which a member dies.
56: Clause 29, page 23, line 30, leave out first “the” and insert “a Chapter 1”
Member’s explanatory statement
This amendment is to ensure that the definition in this Clause catches all cases in which a scheme makes arrangements outside the mechanism of the Chapter to give a person a remedy for discrimination of the kind the Chapter deals with, including in particular a case in which the discrimination occurred under a different scheme.
Amendments 53 to 56 agreed.
Clause 33: Meaning of “opted-out service”
Amendment 57
Moved by
57: Clause 33, page 25, line 25, leave out “A person’s service” and insert “Any continuous period of service of a person”
Member’s explanatory statement
This amendment clarifies that the definition of “opted-out service” applies separately in relation to service that takes place at different times (so that some service may be “opted- out service” and some may not and a person may have more than one period of opted-out service).
Amendment 57 agreed.
Clause 35: Interpretation of Chapter
Amendments 58 to 60
Moved by
58: Clause 35, page 26, leave out lines 22 and 23
Member’s explanatory statement
This amendment is in consequence of the government amendment of Clause 29(1).
59: Clause 35, page 26, line 45, at end insert—
““Fair Deal scheme” means—(a) a pension scheme that, in accordance with the Fair Deal Statement of Practice, has been certified by the Government Actuary’s Department as offering, to persons who have been subject to a Fair Deal transfer, pension arrangements that are broadly comparable with those offered to them before the transfer, or(b) a pension scheme in relation to which the obligation to give such a certificate has been waived in accordance with that statement of practice;“Fair Deal Statement of Practice” means the statement of practice entitled “Staff Transfers in the Public Sector” issued by the Cabinet Office in January 2000, as supplemented and modified from time to time;“Fair Deal transfer” means a transfer of a person’s employment from a public sector employer to a private sector employer in accordance with the Fair Deal Statement of Practice;”Member’s explanatory statement
This amendment adds definitions that are required for one of the government amendments of clause 1.
60: Clause 35, page 27, line 10, at end insert—
““a relevant firefighters’ legacy scheme” means—(a) Schedule 1 to the Firefighters’ Pension Scheme (England) Order 2006 (S.I. 2006/3432) (new firefighters’ scheme),(b) Schedule 1 to the Firefighters’ Pension Scheme (Wales) Order 2007 (S.I. 2007/1072) (new firefighters’ scheme),(c) Schedule 1 to the Firefighters’ Pension Scheme (Scotland) Order 2007 (S.S.I. 2007/199) (new firefighters’ scheme), or(d) the Annex to the New Firefighters’ Pension Scheme Order (Northern Ireland) 2007 (S.R.(N.I.) 2007 No. 215) (new firefighters’ scheme);” Member’s explanatory statement
This amendment adds a definition that is required for one of the government amendments of Clause 1.
Amendments 58 to 60 agreed.
Clause 36: Meaning of “remediable service”
Amendments 61 to 63
Moved by
61: Clause 36, page 27, line 32, leave out “a person’s service” and insert “any continuous period of service of a person”
Member’s explanatory statement
This amendment clarifies that the definition of “remediable service” applies separately in relation to service of a person that takes place at different times (so that a person may have some service that is “remediable service” and some that is not, and may have more than one period of remediable service).
62: Clause 36, page 27, line 38, after “that” insert “all of”
Member’s explanatory statement
This amendment clarifies that the second condition (which is concerned with whether service is pensionable) must be met in relation to all of the service in question.
63: Clause 36, page 28, line 8, after “with” insert “the day after”
Member’s explanatory statement
This amendment ensures that 31 March 2012 (or, where the person left pensionable service before then, the final day of pensionable service) is not counted towards a disqualifying gap in service.
Amendments 61 to 63 agreed.
Clause 38: Partnership pension account: requirement to transfer and surrender rights
Amendment 64
Moved by
64: Clause 38, leave out Clause 38 and insert the following new Clause—
“Partnership pension account: requirement to transfer and surrender rights
(1) Subsection (2) applies where—(a) a person (“P”) has remediable service in a salaried judicial office, and(b) any of the remediable service is PPA opted-out service.(2) A legacy scheme election in respect of P may not be made unless—(a) the relevant authority is satisfied that the steps mentioned in subsection (3) have been taken, or(b) the appropriate person has notified the relevant authority that they intend to instigate and facilitate the taking of those steps.(3) The steps are—(a) the transfer of any relevant assets and liabilities to the relevant judicial legacy salaried scheme,(b) the surrender of any entitlement to a pension under the relevant judicial legacy salaried scheme, and any right to a future pension under that scheme, that would otherwise arise under the rules of the scheme in respect of the value of the assets and liabilities transferred, and(c) if at any time any relevant assets and liabilities were transferred out of the partnership pension account (otherwise than in the course of a transfer to the relevant judicial legacy salaried scheme), the payment by the appropriate person to the relevant judicial legacy salaried scheme of an amount, determined by the relevant authority after consulting the Government Actuary, in respect of the value of the relevant assets transferred.(4) Subsection (5) applies where—(a) a person (“P”) has remediable service in a fee-paid judicial office, and(b) any of the remediable service is PPA opted-out service.(5) A legacy scheme election in respect of P may not be made unless—(a) the relevant authority is satisfied that the steps mentioned in subsection (6) have been taken, or(b) the appropriate person has notified the relevant authority that they intend to instigate and facilitate the taking of those steps.(6) The steps are—(a) the transfer of any relevant assets and liabilities to the judicial legacy fee-paid scheme,(b) the surrender of any entitlement to a pension under the judicial legacy fee-paid scheme, and any right to a future pension under that scheme, that would otherwise arise under the rules of the scheme in respect of the value of the assets and liabilities transferred, and(c) if at any time any relevant assets and liabilities were transferred out of the partnership pension account (otherwise than in the course of a transfer to the judicial legacy fee-paid scheme), the payment by the appropriate person to the judicial legacy fee-paid scheme of an amount, determined by the relevant authority after consulting the Government Actuary, in respect of the value of the relevant assets transferred.(7) In this section “the appropriate person”, in relation to a person (“P”) who has PPA opted-out service, means the person by whom a legacy scheme election in respect of P may be made (see section 43).(8) For the purposes of this section assets and liabilities are “relevant” in relation to any PPA opted-out service of a person (“P”) if—(a) they are referable to pension contributions or voluntary contributions that were made by or on behalf of P in respect of the service, and(b) they are held for the purposes of a partnership pension account.This is subject to subsection (9).(9) Where—(a) the total of the pension contributions, together with any voluntary contributions, that were paid by P in respect of the PPA opted-out service, exceeds(b) the total of the pension contributions that would have been payable by P in respect of that service if the service had been pensionable service under the judicial legacy scheme to which the relevant assets and liabilities are to be transferred,the assets and liabilities that the relevant authority, after consulting the Government Actuary, determines are referable to the excess are not “relevant” in relation to the PPA opted-out service.(10) A reference in subsection (9) to pension contributions or voluntary contributions paid by P in respect of PPA opted-out service is a reference to the amount of the contributions paid, net of any tax relief under section 188 of FA 2004 (relief for contributions) to which P was entitled in respect of them.” Member’s explanatory statement
This amendment substitutes Clause 38. The replacement Clause is updated in a number of respects, and now caters in particular for cases in which the member has died, and cases in which transfers have been made from the partnership pension account.
Amendment 64 agreed.
Clause 45: Benefits for children where election made
Amendment 65
Moved by
65: Clause 45, page 34, line 10, leave out “, civil partner or other adult” and insert “or civil partner”
Member’s explanatory statement
In the judicial legacy schemes, the only adult who may be entitled to benefits on a member’s death is a surviving spouse or civil partner. This amendment therefore removes the redundant reference to other adults.
Amendment 65 agreed.
Clause 48: Pension benefits and lump sums benefits
Amendments 66 and 67
Moved by
66: Clause 48, page 37, line 8, at end insert—
“(5A) If—(a) M is deceased,(b) a PPA lump sum death benefit has been paid on the death of M, and(c) a legacy scheme election has been made in respect of M,the PPA lump sum death benefit is to be treated for the purposes of subsection (4)(a) as a lump sum benefit paid under the scheme in respect of M’s remediable service in the judicial office.”Member’s explanatory statement
Where a person has opted out of the public service pension scheme available to them and instead has a partnership pension account, and the person dies, a lump sum may be paid by the department to the person’s nominated beneficiary (or, in the absence of a nomination, to the person’s personal representatives). Where a legacy scheme election is made in respect of the person, the arrangements for lump sum death benefits under the legacy scheme will apply. This amendment ensures that a correction is made for the lump sum already paid.
67: Clause 48, page 37, line 23, at end insert—
““PPA lump sum death benefit” means an amount paid by the relevant authority, on the death of a person who has a partnership pension account, to a person nominated by the deceased or to the person’s personal representatives.”Member’s explanatory statement
Where a person has opted out of the public service pension scheme available to them and instead has a partnership pension account, and the person dies, a lump sum may be paid by the department to the person’s nominated beneficiary (or, in the absence of a nomination, to the person’s personal representatives). Where a legacy scheme election is made in respect of the person, the arrangements for lump sum death benefits under the legacy scheme will apply. This amendment ensures that a correction is made for the lump sum already paid.
Amendments 66 and 67 agreed.
Clause 49: Pension contributions
Amendments 68 and 69
Moved by
68: Clause 49, page 37, line 28, leave out subsections (2) to (4) and insert—
“(2) Where—(a) the paid contributions amount for an in-scope tax year in respect of M’s remediable service in the judicial office, exceeds(b) the payable contributions amount for that tax year in respect of that service,the scheme manager must (directly or indirectly) pay an amount in respect of the difference to the appropriate person.(3) Where—(a) the paid contributions amount for an out-of-scope tax year in respect of M’s remediable service in the judicial office, exceeds(b) the payable contributions amount for that tax year in respect of that service,no amount is to be paid by the scheme manager in respect of the difference to the appropriate person.(4) Where—(a) the paid contributions amount for an in-scope or out-of-scope tax year in respect of M’s remediable service in the judicial office, is less than(b) the payable contributions amount for that tax year in respect of that service,the appropriate person must pay pension contributions in respect of the difference to the scheme.(4A) A reference in this section to “the paid contributions amount” for a tax year in respect of M’s remediable service in a judicial office is a reference to the sum of—(a) the aggregate of the pension contributions that (after taking into account the effect, if any, of section 47(2), (4) and (6)) have been paid under the scheme by M in the tax year in respect of so much of the service as was not PPA opted-out service, and(b) where any of the remediable service was PPA opted-out service—(i) the aggregate of the pension contributions and any voluntary contributions that have been paid by M under the partnership pension account in the tax year in respect of the PPA opted-out service, or(ii) if lower, the aggregate of the pension contributions that (after taking into account the effect, if any, of section 39(2) to (5) or 42 (2)) were payable under the scheme by M for that tax year in respect of the PPA opted-out service.(4B) A reference in this section to “the payable contributions amount” for a tax year in respect of M’s remediable service in a judicial office means the aggregate of the pension contributions that (after taking into account the effect, if any, of section 39(2) to (5) or 42 (2)) were payable under the scheme by M for that tax year in respect of the service.(4C) In this section “the appropriate person” means—(a) M, or(b) if M is deceased, M’s personal representatives.”Member’s explanatory statement
This amendment ensures that the treatment of contributions paid to a partnership pension account is properly accounted for; it is also one of a number of amendments clarifying or adjusting the processes and powers under Part 1 of the Bill so that they operate as intended in cases in which a member dies.
69: Clause 49, page 38, line 19, after “contributions” insert “or voluntary contributions”
Member’s explanatory statement
This amendment ensures that voluntary contributions paid to a partnership pension account are accounted for net of tax relief.
Amendments 68 and 69 agreed.
Clause 50: Effective pension age payments
Amendments 70 to 73
Moved by
70: Clause 50, page 38, line 24, leave out “Subsection (2) applies” and insert “Subsections (1A) and (2) apply”
Member’s explanatory statement
This amendment clarifies the treatment of effective pension age payments under this clause.
71: Clause 50, page 38, line 28, at end insert—
“(1A) The rights that would otherwise have been secured by the effective pension age payments are extinguished.”Member’s explanatory statement
This amendment clarifies the treatment of effective pension age payments under this Clause.
72: Clause 50, page 38, line 29, leave out “P an amount” and insert “the appropriate person an amount by way of compensation”
Member’s explanatory statement
This amendment clarifies the treatment of effective pension age payments under this clause, and is also one of a number of amendments clarifying or adjusting the processes and powers under Part 1 of the Bill so that they operate as intended in cases in which a member dies.
73: Clause 50, page 38, line 34, at end insert—
“(2A) In subsection (2) “the appropriate person” means—(a) P, or(b) if P is deceased, P’s personal representatives.”Member’s explanatory statement
This is one of a number of amendments clarifying or adjusting the processes and powers under Part 1 of the Bill so that they operate as intended in cases in which a member dies.
Amendments 70 to 73 agreed.
Clause 51: Transitional protection allowance
Amendments 74 and 75
Moved by
74: Clause 51, page 39, line 1, leave out “P” and insert “The appropriate person”
Member’s explanatory statement
This is one of a number of amendments clarifying or adjusting the processes and powers under Part 1 of the Bill so that they operate as intended in cases in which a member dies.
75: Clause 51, page 39, line 4, at end insert—
“(2A) In subsection (2) “the appropriate person” means—(a) P, or(b) if P is deceased, P’s personal representatives.”Member’s explanatory statement
This is one of a number of amendments clarifying or adjusting the processes and powers under Part 1 of the Bill so that they operate as intended in cases in which a member dies.
Amendments 74 and 75 agreed.
Clause 52: Power to reduce benefits in lieu of paying liabilities owed to scheme
Amendment 76
Moved by
76: Clause 52, page 39, line 17, at end insert—
“(1A) Scheme regulations for a judicial scheme may make provision under which, in a case in which a person is (by virtue of provision made under subsection (1)) not required to pay an amount to the person’s employer, the scheme manager is required to reimburse the employer.”Member’s explanatory statement
This amendment ensures that, where a person has an obligation to pay an amount to the person’s employer as a result of this Chapter (for example a requirement to repay transitional protection allowance under clause 51) and regulations under subsection (1) of this clause mean that, instead of paying the full amount immediately, the person receives reduced benefits from the scheme in retirement, the scheme is require to reimburse the employer for the amount owed.
Amendment 76 agreed.
Clause 54: Pension credit members
Amendments 77 to 79
Moved by
77: Clause 54, page 39, line 41, leave out “member of the scheme” and insert “person”
Member’s explanatory statement
This amendment is to ensure that the power under Clause 54 is available in relation to the benefits payable to or in respect of any person who has a pension credit or debit under a scheme, whether or not they are regarded as a member of the scheme under its rules.
78: Clause 54, page 40, line 4, leave out “member” and insert “person”
Member’s explanatory statement
This amendment is to ensure that the power under clause 54 is available in relation to the benefits payable to or in respect of any person who has a pension credit or debit under a scheme, whether or not they are regarded as a member of the scheme under its rules.
79: Clause 54, page 40, line 6, leave out second “member” and insert “person”
Member’s explanatory statement
This amendment is to ensure that the power under Clause 54 is available in relation to the benefits payable to or in respect of any person who has a pension credit or debit under a scheme, whether or not they are regarded as a member of the scheme under its rules.
Amendments 77 to 79 agreed.
Clause 55: Further powers to make provision about special cases
Amendments 80 to 84
Moved by
80: Clause 55, page 41, line 13, leave out paragraph (g) and insert—
“(g) provision about cases in which the scheme administrator of a judicial scheme pays a liability under section 217 or 237B of FA 2004 (joint liability of scheme administrator to lifetime allowance charge or annual allowance charge);” Member’s explanatory statement
This amendment generalises the power in subsection (2)(g) of this clause so that it confers power to make provision about any case in which a member’s liability to a lifetime allowance charge, or an annual allowance charge, is paid under the “scheme pays” facility (under which the liability is paid by the scheme administrator and the member’s benefits from the scheme are reduced in consequence).
81: Clause 55, page 41, line 16, at end insert—
“(2A) The provision that may be made by virtue of subsection (2)(a) includes, in particular, provision under which—(a) the rights that would otherwise have been secured by the payment of any voluntary contributions are extinguished, and(b) the scheme manager is required to pay the member or, if the member is deceased, the member’s personal representatives an amount by way of compensation equal to—(i) the aggregate of the voluntary contributions paid, less(ii) an amount in respect of the tax relief under section 188 of FA 2004 (member contributions) to which the member was entitled in respect of those payments.”Member’s explanatory statement
This amendment clarifies the nature of the provision that it is envisaged will be made under subsection (2)(a) for the refund of voluntary contributions.
82: Clause 55, page 41, leave out lines 19 to 22 and insert—
“(a) provision modifying any provision of this Chapter in its application to persons of a description specified in the regulations;(b) provision corresponding to, or applying, any provision of this Chapter, with or without modifications.”Member’s explanatory statement
This amendment clarifies the way in which special cases may be dealt with in regulations.
83: Clause 55, page 41, line 23, leave out subsection (4)
Member’s explanatory statement
This amendment is in consequence of the government amendment of Clause 92 which applies the definition of “voluntary contributions” to the whole of Part 1.
84: Clause 55, page 41, line 34, at end insert—
“(6) In this section—“modifying” includes disapplying or supplementing (and cognate expressions are to be construed accordingly);“scheme administrator” has the same meaning as in Part 4 of FA 2004 (see section 270 of that Act).”Member’s explanatory statement
This amendment inserts definitions required for other government amendments of this Clause.
Amendments 80 to 84 agreed.
Clause 56: Power to pay compensation
Amendments 85 to 88
Moved by
85: Clause 56, page 41, line 38, at end insert “or, in the case of deceased members, their personal representatives.”
Member’s explanatory statement
This amendment ensures that, where a member has died, compensation can be paid to the member’s personal representatives if they incur a compensatable loss.
86: Clause 56, page 41, line 42, after “member” insert “, or by a member’s personal representatives,”
Member’s explanatory statement
This amendment ensures that, where a member has died, compensation can be paid to the member’s personal representatives if they incur a compensatable loss.
87: Clause 56, page 42, line 27, leave out “the member” and insert “any person”
Member’s explanatory statement
This is one of a number of amendments clarifying or adjusting the processes and powers under Part 1 of the Bill so that they operate as intended in cases in which a member dies.
88: Clause 56, page 42, line 29, leave out “the member” and insert “any person”
Member’s explanatory statement
This is one of a number of amendments clarifying or adjusting the processes and powers under Part 1 of the Bill so that they operate as intended in cases in which a member dies.
Amendments 85 to 88 agreed.
Amendment 89
Moved by
89: After Clause 56, insert the following new Clause—
“Remedial arrangements to pay voluntary contributions to judicial schemes
(1) Scheme regulations for a judicial scheme may make provision so as to secure that a relevant member may enter into remedial voluntary contributions arrangements.(2) In subsection (1)—“relevant member”, in relation to a judicial scheme, means a member (other than a deceased member) who has remediable service in a judicial office which, after the end of the election period, is pensionable service under the scheme;“remedial voluntary contributions arrangements” means arrangements—(a) which are entered into by a member after the end of the election period, and(b) under which the member pays voluntary contributions to the scheme.(3) Provision by virtue of subsection (1) may permit a member (“M”) to enter into arrangements only if the scheme manager is satisfied that it is more likely than not that, but for a relevant breach of a non-discrimination rule, M would, during the period of M’s remediable service in the judicial office, have entered into the same or similar arrangements.(4) The provision that may be made by virtue of subsection (1) includes, in particular, provision under which liabilities to pay voluntary contributions that would otherwise arise under the arrangements are reduced by tax relief amounts.(5) In subsection (4) “tax relief amounts” means amounts determined by reference to the tax relief under section 188 of FA 2004 (relief for members’ contributions) that would have been available in respect of the amounts owed if they were paid in a different tax year.(6) Provision by virtue of subsection (1) may not permit a member (“M”) to enter into arrangements after—(a) the end of the period of one year beginning with the day on which a statement under section 60 (information statements) is sent in respect of M, or(b) such later time as the scheme manager considers reasonable in all the circumstances.(7) Subsection (6) does not affect the continued operation after the time mentioned in that subsection of any arrangements entered into before that time. (8) In this section “non-discrimination rule” means a rule that is, or at any time was, included in a judicial scheme by virtue of—(a) section 61 of EA 2010, or(b) paragraph 2 of Schedule 1 to EEAR(NI) 2006.(9) For the purposes of this section a breach of a non-discrimination rule is “relevant” if it arises from the application of—(a) an exception to section 18(1) of PSPA 2013 made under section 18(5) to (7) of that Act, or(b) an exception to section 18(1) of PSPA(NI) 2014 made under section 18(5) to (8) of that Act.”Member’s explanatory statement
This Clause makes it possible for a judicial scheme to make provision giving members with remediable service the facility to enter into new arrangements to pay voluntary contributions. The facility may only be made available for members who would have entered into similar arrangements but for unlawful discrimination, and may be made available only for a limited period.
Amendment 89 agreed.
Clause 57: Interest and process
Amendment 90
Moved by
90: Clause 57, page 43, line 6, leave out subsection (3) and insert—
“(3) In this section “relevant amounts” mean any amounts that are payable under or by virtue of this Chapter—(a) by a person to the scheme or to an employer in relation to the scheme, or(b) by the scheme to a person.”Member’s explanatory statement
This amendment broadens the definition of “relevant amounts” so that it covers payments to a member’s employer. It is also one of a number of amendments clarifying or adjusting the processes and powers under Part 1 of the Bill so that they operate as intended in cases in which a member dies.
Amendment 90 agreed.
Clause 58: Treasury directions
Amendments 91 to 94
Moved by
91: Clause 58, page 43, line 29, at end insert—
“(fa) the power to make scheme regulations by virtue of section (Remedial arrangements to pay voluntary contributions to judicial schemes) (remedial arrangements to pay voluntary contributions to judicial schemes) and any powers exercisable by virtue of such regulations;”Member’s explanatory statement
This amendment ensures that Treasury directions can be used in relation to remedial voluntary contributions arrangements.
92: Clause 58, page 43, line 33, leave out from “paid” to “or any” and insert “by or to a scheme in relation to a member”
Member’s explanatory statement
This is one of a number of amendments clarifying or adjusting the processes and powers under Part 1 of the Bill so that they operate as intended in cases in which a member dies.
93: Clause 58, page 43, line 35, after “member” insert “and (if different) the person to whom or by whom the amount is to be paid or the liability is owed”
Member’s explanatory statement
This amendment ensures subsection (3) of this clause operates as intended in a case in which an amount is payable to or by a person who is not the member who has remediable service (for example a surviving adult or personal representatives).
94: Clause 58, page 43, line 37, leave out “the member” and insert “that person or those persons”
Member’s explanatory statement
This amendment ensures subsection (3) of this Clause operates as intended in a case in which an amount is payable to or by a person who is not the member who has remediable service (for example a surviving adult or personal representatives).
Amendments 91 to 94 agreed.
Clause 60: Information statement
Amendments 95 to 98
Moved by
95: Clause 60, page 44, line 24, leave out subsection (1) and insert—
“(1) The relevant authority must—(a) prepare a statement in relation to any person (“P”) in respect of whom a legacy scheme election or a 2015 election may be made, and(b) send it to the person who may make the election (see section 43).(1A) Subsection (1) must be complied with before the beginning of the election period in relation to P.”Member’s explanatory statement
This amendment is consequential on the government amendments of Clause 65.
96: Clause 60, page 44, line 40, after “available),” insert—
“(ca) a description of—(i) the arrangements (if any) that, by virtue of section (Remedial arrangements to pay voluntary contributions to judicial schemes) (remedial arrangements to pay voluntary contributions to judicial schemes), may be entered into under judicial schemes, and(ii) the circumstances in which, and the process by which, such arrangements may be entered into,”Member’s explanatory statement
The amendment ensures that a statement under this clause includes information to enable the recipient to decide whether they are entitled to enter into new arrangements to pay voluntary contributions, and if so how to go about doing it.
97: Clause 60, page 44, line 42, leave out “appropriate person’s”
Member’s explanatory statement
This amendment is consequential on the government amendments of Clause 65.
98: Clause 60, page 44, line 44, leave out subsection (3)
Member’s explanatory statement
This amendment is consequential on the government amendments of Clause 65.
Amendments 95 to 98 agreed.
Clause 63: Application of Chapter to immediate detriment cases
Amendments 99 and 100
Moved by
99: Clause 63, page 45, line 20, leave out from “if” to “in” in line 21 and insert “an immediate detriment remedy has been obtained”
Member’s explanatory statement
This is one of a number of amendments clarifying or adjusting the processes and powers under Part 1 of the Bill so that they operate as intended in cases in which a member dies.
100: Clause 63, page 45, line 23, leave out from “have” to “so” in line 24 and insert “rights in respect of remediable service in relation to which an immediate detriment remedy has been obtained”
Member’s explanatory statement
This is one of a number of amendments clarifying or adjusting the processes and powers under Part 1 of the Bill so that they operate as intended in cases in which a member dies.
Amendments 99 and 100 agreed.
Clause 64: Persons who have “benefited from an immediate detriment remedy”
Amendments 101 to 103
Moved by
101: Clause 64, page 46, line 2, leave out from “of” to “person’s” in line 3 and insert “section 63 an “immediate detriment remedy” has been obtained in relation to a”
Member’s explanatory statement
This is one of a number of amendments clarifying or adjusting the processes and powers under Part 1 of the Bill so that they operate as intended in cases in which a member dies.
102: Clause 64, page 46, line 7, leave out “the” and insert “any”
Member’s explanatory statement
This is one of a number of amendments clarifying or adjusting the processes and powers under Part 1 of the Bill so that they operate as intended in cases in which a member dies.
103: Clause 64, page 46, line 15, leave out second “the” and insert “any”
Member’s explanatory statement
This is one of a number of amendments clarifying or adjusting the processes and powers under Part 1 of the Bill so that they operate as intended in cases in which a member dies.
Amendments 101 to 103 agreed.
Clause 65: Meaning of “the election period”
Amendments 104 and 105
Moved by
104: Clause 65, page 46, line 29, after “period”” insert “, in relation to a person who has remediable service in a judicial office,”
Member’s explanatory statement
This amendment (together with the other government amendment of this Clause) makes the definition of “the election period” more flexible by enabling different periods to be specified for different descriptions of judge.
105: Clause 65, page 46, line 31, at end insert—
“(1A) Different dates may be specified in relation to different descriptions of person.”Member’s explanatory statement
This amendment (together with the other government amendment of this clause) makes the definition of “the election period” more flexible by enabling different periods to be specified for different descriptions of judge.
Amendments 104 and 105 agreed.
Clause 69: Meaning of “opted-out service” and “PPA opted-out service”
Amendment 106
Moved by
106: Clause 69, page 47, line 42, after “to” insert “pension”
Member’s explanatory statement
This amendment clarifies the reference to pension contributions in subsection (2) of this Clause.
Amendment 106 agreed.
Clause 71: Interpretation of Chapter
Amendments 107 and 108
Moved by
107: Clause 71, page 48, leave out lines 21 and 22
Member’s explanatory statement
This amendment is in consequence of the government amendment of Clause 64(1).
108: Clause 71, page 49, leave out line 9
Member’s explanatory statement
This amendment is in consequence of the government amendment of Clause 92 which applies the definition of “voluntary contributions” to the whole of Part 1.
Amendments 107 and 108 agreed.
Clause 73: Meaning of “remediable service”
Amendments 109 and 110
Moved by
109: Clause 73, page 49, line 38, leave out “a person’s service” and insert “any continuous period of service of a person”
Member’s explanatory statement
This amendment clarifies that the definition of “remediable service” applies separately in relation to service of a person that takes place at different times (so that a person may have some service that is “remediable service” and some that is not, and may have more than one period of remediable service).
110: Clause 73, page 50, line 3, after “that” insert “all of”
Member’s explanatory statement
This amendment clarifies that the second condition (which is concerned with whether service is pensionable) must be met in relation to all of the service in question.
Amendments 109 and 110 agreed.
Amendment 111
Moved by
111: After Clause 78, insert the following new Clause—
“Prohibition of new arrangements to pay voluntary contributions
(1) No arrangements are to be entered into after 31 March 2022 under which voluntary contributions are payable by a member of a relevant scheme to the scheme.(2) In subsection (1) “relevant scheme” means—(a) a Chapter 1 legacy scheme (within the meaning of Chapter 1),(b) a judicial legacy salaried scheme (within the meaning of Chapter 2),(c) a local government legacy scheme (within the meaning of Chapter 3),(d) the Judicial Pensions Regulations 2015 (S.I. 2015/182),(e) the Judicial Pensions Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2015 (S.R.(N.I.) 2015 No. 76), or(f) the pension scheme established for certain employees of the Secret Intelligence Service which came into operation on 1 January 1946 and was amended on 1 September 1957 and 1 July 1964.(3) Subsection (1)—(a) does not affect the continued operation after 31 March 2022 of any arrangements entered into on or before that date; (b) does not apply to arrangements entered into by virtue of section (Remedial arrangements to pay voluntary contributions to legacy schemes) or (Remedial arrangements to pay voluntary contributions to judicial schemes) (remedial arrangements to pay voluntary contributions).”Member’s explanatory statement
This Clause sets out the general rule that no arrangements to pay voluntary contributions to legacy schemes may be entered into after 31 March 2022.
Amendment 111 agreed.
Amendment 112
Moved by
112: After Clause 79, insert the following new Clause—
“Amendments relating to the establishment or restriction of schemes
(1) PSPA 2013 is amended in accordance with subsections (2) to (7).(2) In section 4 (scheme manager)—(a) after subsection (3) insert—“(3A) Subsection (1) does not apply to a scheme under section 1 if—(a) the scheme is connected with another scheme under section 1, and(b) a scheme manager is provided for under subsection (1) in scheme regulations for that other scheme.”;(b) after subsection (6) insert—“(6A) The reference in subsection (6) to a statutory pension scheme includes a statutory pension scheme established (under section 1 or otherwise) after the establishment of the scheme under section 1 mentioned in that subsection.”(3) In section 5 (pension board), after subsection (2) insert—“(2A) Subsection (1) does not apply to a scheme under section 1 if—(a) the scheme is connected with another scheme under section 1, and(b) a pension board is provided for under subsection (1) in scheme regulations for that other scheme.”(4) In section 7 (scheme advisory board)—(a) in subsection (1), for “on the desirability of changes to the scheme” substitute “on—(a) the desirability of changes to the scheme, or(b) the desirability of changes to any other scheme under section 1 which—(i) is connected with it, and(ii) is not an injury or compensation scheme.”;(b) after subsection (1) insert—“(1A) Subsection (1) does not apply to a scheme under section 1 if—(a) the scheme is connected with another scheme under section 1 which is not an injury or compensation scheme, and(b) a scheme advisory board is provided for under subsection (1) in scheme regulations for that other scheme.”(5) In section 11 (valuations), after subsection (1) insert—“(1A) Subsection (1) does not apply to a scheme under section 1 if— (a) the scheme is connected with another scheme under section 1, and(b) actuarial valuations are provided for under subsection (1) in scheme regulations for that other scheme.”(6) After section 12 insert—“12A Sections 11 and 12: restricted schemes(1) Section 11(1) (valuations) does not require scheme regulations to provide for actuarial valuations to be made of a scheme to which this section applies.(2) Section 12(1) (employer cost cap) does not apply to a scheme to which this section applies.(3) This section applies to a scheme under section 1 which—(a) is a restricted scheme, and(b) is specified for the purposes of this section in Treasury regulations.(4) For the purposes of this section a scheme under section 1 is a “restricted scheme” at any time if any enactment restricts the provision of benefits under the scheme to or in respect of a person in relation to the person’s service after that time.(5) Treasury regulations under this section may include consequential or supplementary provision.(6) Treasury regulations under this section are subject to the negative Commons procedure.”(7) In section 30 (new public body pension schemes), in subsection (1)(e), for “and 12” substitute “to 12A”.(8) PSPA(NI) 2014 is amended in accordance with subsections (9) to (15).(9) In section 4 (scheme manager)—(a) after subsection (3) insert—“(3A) Subsection (1) does not apply to a scheme under section 1 if—(a) the scheme is connected with another scheme under section 1, and(b) a scheme manager is provided for under subsection (1) in scheme regulations for that other scheme.”;(b) after subsection (6) insert—“(6A) The reference in subsection (6) to a statutory pension scheme includes a statutory pension scheme established (under section 1 or otherwise) after the establishment of the scheme under section 1 mentioned in that subsection.”(10) In section 5 (pension board)—(a) in subsection (1), for “subsection (2)” substitute “subsections (2) and (2A)”;(b) after subsection (2) insert—“(2A) Subsection (1) does not apply to a scheme under section 1 if—(a) the scheme is connected with another scheme under section 1, and(b) a pension board is provided for under subsection (1) in scheme regulations for that other scheme.”(11) In section 7 (scheme advisory board)—(a) in subsection (1), for “on the desirability of changes to the scheme” substitute “on—(a) the desirability of changes to the scheme, or(b) the desirability of changes to any other scheme under section 1 which—(i) is connected with it, and(ii) is not an injury or compensation scheme.”;(b) after subsection (1) insert— “(1A) Subsection (1) does not apply to a scheme under section 1 if—(a) the scheme is connected with another scheme under section 1 which is not an injury or compensation scheme, and(b) a scheme advisory board is provided for under subsection (1) in scheme regulations for that other scheme.”(12) In section 11 (valuations), after subsection (1) insert—“(1A) Subsection (1) does not apply to a scheme under section 1 if—(a) the scheme is connected with another scheme under section 1, and(b) actuarial valuations are provided for under subsection (1) in scheme regulations for that other scheme.”(13) After section 12 insert—“12A Sections 11 and 12: restricted schemes(1) Section 11(1) (valuations) does not require scheme regulations to provide for actuarial valuations to be made of a scheme to which this section applies.(2) Section 12(1) (employer cost cap) does not apply to a scheme to which this section applies.(3) This section applies to a scheme under section 1 which—(a) is a restricted scheme, and(b) is specified for the purposes of this section in regulations made by the Department of Finance.(4) For the purposes of this section a scheme under section 1 is a “restricted scheme” at any time if any statutory provision restricts the provision of benefits under the scheme to or in respect of a person in relation to the person’s service after that time.(5) Regulations made by the Department of Finance under this section may include consequential or supplementary provision.(6) Regulations made by the Department of Finance under this section are subject to negative resolution.”(14) In section 31 (new public body pension schemes), in subsection (1)(e), for “and 12” substitute “to 12A”.(15) In section 34 (general interpretation), at the appropriate place insert—““statutory provision” has the meaning given in section 1(f) of the Interpretation Act (Northern Ireland) 1954;”.”Member’s explanatory statement
This new Clause amends the Public Service Pensions Act 2013 (and its Northern Ireland equivalent) so as to clarify and adjust the way the governance of schemes, and the valuation process, work where a scheme established under the Act for a description of persons is closed, and a new scheme under the Act is established for the same description of persons.
Amendment 112 agreed.
Clause 80: Amendments relating to employer cost cap
Amendment 113
Moved by
113: Clause 80, page 56, line 3, leave out “(2) and” and insert “(1A) to”
Member’s explanatory statement
This amendment is consequential on the new subsection inserted into this Clause after subsection (1).
Amendment 113 agreed.
Amendment 114
Moved by
114: Clause 80, page 56, line 3, leave out “(2) and (3)” and insert “(1A) to (3).
(1A) In subsection (4) omit paragraph (c).”Member’s explanatory statement
The amendment removes from the calculation of the employer cost cap the effect of changes in the cost of connected schemes, including the cost of rectifying the unlawful discrimination.
Lord Davies of Brixton Portrait Lord Davies of Brixton (Lab)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

My Lords, I raised this issue at Second Reading in the context of questioning the use of directions. I believe that there is a general issue here about the respective weight given to primary legislation, regulations subject to approval by one or both Houses, and directions, which are the decision of the Treasury. Clearly, there is a balance to be drawn here on the appropriate level of parliamentary scrutiny; it is a debate that we should have, but it is not one I propose to pursue any more in the context of this Bill.

However, some concerns remain about issues that are being dealt with through directions which, I believe, should be subject to parliamentary scrutiny. In the context of this Bill, there are two issues of concern. The first is the decision that the cost of the remedy—that is, the remedy required to address the issue of age discrimination—should be counted as a member cost in the cost-control mechanism. The second issue is that, in that calculation, the costs of the remedy should be spread over a period of four years.

This is beginning to verge on technical issues but, at heart, these are policy decisions, and ones that should be subject to parliamentary scrutiny. They go far beyond what have been described. This legislation amends the Public Service Pensions Act 2013, and there was a report on that legislation, looking at the directions, which said that the directions did not need parliamentary scrutiny because they were simply technical matters of actuarial practice. My argument today, on those two issues—and I am going to focus only on the issue of whether this is a “member cost”—is around whether this is a technical matter of actuarial practice or whether it is a policy decision that should be subject to parliamentary scrutiny.

There is no doubt that the decision to make this a member cost will mean that members end up paying more money or receiving lower benefits. It will directly affect the benefits that they receive. The issue was raised in Committee, and the Minister at that stage maintained the position that

“Treasury directions … exercise a particular power, rather than creating a new power”.—[Official Report, 11/10/2021; col. GC 353.]


I would argue that the decision to make this a member cost as part of the cost-control mechanism goes beyond the exercise of a particular power and creates a new power, and hence it should be considered as regulations.

This is a complicated issue, and, to understand it, you need to have a clear understanding of the purpose of the cost-control mechanism. It is not, as the Government have suggested, a mechanism for assessing the value of pensions; this is not something that directly affects the calculation of the contribution rate being paid for the scheme. It simply affects the cost-control mechanism, which is the trigger for deciding whether changes should be made to the scheme. The costs of the scheme are the costs of the scheme; whatever the benefits are, they are the costs of the scheme. This is a mechanism for deciding whether those benefits should be changed or, alternatively, whether contributions should be changed.

It has always been accepted that there are certain elements in the calculation involved in the cost-control mechanism that are regarded as member costs that will impact on the cost-control mechanism—but there are also these other elements in the calculation that are employer costs, which do not impact on the cost-control mechanism. The issue has been discussed, and there have been government reports on what counts as a member cost or an employer cost, but they have never considered the issue of the cost of a remedy incurred by the Government’s own error. It was the Government’s mistake to have age discrimination in this scheme and, to address the Government’s mistake, there has to be a remedy. That remedy is the subject of this Bill. Should the cost of that remedy be a cost for the Government, who created the problem in the first place, or a member cost? The Government argue that members are receiving additional benefits and so it is clearly a member cost.

This is an important issue and what I am arguing about now is not an ultimate answer—I have made my position clear; I think it should be an employer cost—but it is not an issue that should be addressed through directions; it should come before Parliament through regulations. Because of the nature of the regulations, they would probably be financial regulations and considered only by the House of Commons. That is effectively what I am arguing, and I have put down my amendment in order to raise this issue. To a certain extent, our deliberations here are not final, because this is the subject of extensive legal action. However, that is nothing to do with the argument today. The argument is technical; it is on the relatively narrow point of whether the cost of the remedy falls to be treated as an employer cost or as a member cost.

Lord Hodgson of Astley Abbotts Portrait Lord Hodgson of Astley Abbotts (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

My Lords, I have not participated on this Bill before; indeed, I just want to pick up the point made by the noble Lord, Lord Davies, about the way that more and more government actions are taken by subordinate legislation. I chair the Secondary Legislation Scrutiny Committee, and we produced a report last week entitled Government by Diktat. My noble friend Lord Blencathra, who chairs the parallel committee, the Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee, produced another report called Democracy Denied?

We all know that secondary legislation it is not well scrutinised. It cannot be amended, and this House and indeed the other place are therefore reluctant to undertake what I call the nuclear option—we cannot amend a bit of it, so we have to reject the whole lot. The last time that happened there was a huge constitutional crisis, to which my noble friend Lord Strathclyde had to set up a committee to answer.

However, we have moved from that unsatisfactory position to one where we now have guidance. Guidance may or may not form part of the regulations; sometimes it says that the guidance “must have regard to” the regulations. What does that mean? Does it mean “I thought about it and I did not want to follow it”, or does it mean “The court will decide, and you had better have a jolly good reason for not complying with it”.

The point from the noble Lord, Lord Davies of Brixton, takes it further away from the control of this House. We have what is now tertiary legislation: directions and decisions made by bodies that are not answerable to Parliament but whose decisions and regulations are enforced and required to be obeyed by every single member of the population of this country. Whatever the rights and wrongs of the point from the noble Lord, Lord Davies—I am not in a position to judge—he raises a very important matter for the House, which needs to be debated and discussed. As we move to new ways of regulating and legislating, because our society is moving on faster than the rather stately pace of primary legislation, we need to find new and better ways of making sure that Parliament, as the legislature, is not subject to the creeping, increasing control of the Executive—the Government.

My committee and my noble friend Lord Blencathra’s committee are pretty convinced that the situation needs seriously addressing here—and of course in the other place, which must lead the way on this—if we are to make sure that the balance, which has shifted, is put back in the right place and in the right form. The speech by the noble Lord, Lord Davies of Brixton, underlines some of the dangers that we are facing by direction, which is not good enough because it does not come before your Lordships’ House or indeed the other place but will nevertheless have a very significant impact for our fellow citizens.

16:45
Baroness Janke Portrait Baroness Janke (LD)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

My Lords, I again thank the noble Lord, Lord Davies, for his explanation and for raising these issues, as he did in Committee. I listened again with interest to the noble Lord, Lord Hodgson, as he has intervened in two Bills on the issue of secondary legislation. I am sure that many Members of this House would support his view that there is inadequate scrutiny of secondary legislation and that the House’s powers are so severely curtailed that it requires us to ask whether we adequately exercise our scrutiny of subsequent legislation as we do with primary legislation.

As for the cost cap mechanism, I know that there was great criticism, both from the Public Accounts Committee and the National Audit Office, about the costs of the remedy and how they would be paid for by the members, whereas it was an error by government and it was certainly felt, as the noble Lord, Lord Davies, said, that it should be faced by government. However, the Government have certainly produced a more satisfactory cost cap mechanism, with a number of concessions relating to the future costs of the pensions. We welcome the new arrangements for payments for any breach of the cost cap or floor, which were to be paid for by the members of the new scheme, as we do the widening of the margin for material breach of the ceiling or floor. We also appreciated the new application of the economic test should the cost floor be breached. We feel that the Government have made some attempt to address criticisms of the cost cap mechanism and will follow with interest how that operates in future.

Lord Ponsonby of Shulbrede Portrait Lord Ponsonby of Shulbrede (Lab)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

My Lords, I again pay tribute to my noble friend Lord Davies for his contribution and for setting out the range of concerns surrounding the cost-control mechanism and the inclusion of the remedy as a member cost. I recognise that this question is subject to ongoing legal action and once again put on record that we welcome the provisions in Clause 80, although, as the Minister is only too aware, it does not deal with the wider question of plans for the cost-control mechanism.

Members of the House are not the first to raise questions over the Government’s plans. The cross-party Public Accounts Committee said:

“HM Treasury should have foreseen the age discrimination issue that gave rise to the 2018 McCloud judgment, and putting things right will take many decades to resolve. HM Treasury wants members to pay to put this right—at an estimated cost of £17 billion—despite this being its own mistake.”


That point was repeated by my noble friend Lord Davies and the noble Baroness, Lady Janke.

I look forward to the Minister’s response on this issue but, before I finish, I want to echo one specific question. Am I right that there will be a number of members who will not benefit from the remedy but will be impacted by it if it is included as a member cost?

I listened with interest to the noble Lord, Lord Hodgson of Astley Abbotts, on Parliament being subject to the creeping control of the Executive—I think that is the way he put it. He talked about examples of secondary legislation and indeed gave this as an example of tertiary legislation. I think a lot of us will have sympathy with what he said.

Viscount Younger of Leckie Portrait Viscount Younger of Leckie (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

My Lords, an amendment has been put forward to Clause 80 by the noble Lord, Lord Davies of Brixton, which concerns the employer cost cap. The noble Lord seeks to amend this clause to prevent the increase in value of schemes associated with the McCloud remedy being accounted for in the cost-control element of the 2016 valuations. I thank the noble Lord for bringing this to the attention of the House and am grateful to him for his prior engagement on the policy.

I can confirm that the Government have received pre-action protocol letters on behalf of some trade unions which have indicated that they may issue judicial review proceedings to challenge the Government’s decision to include the costs of remedy in the cost-control mechanism at the 2016 valuations. As the House will expect, and as the noble Lord, Lord Ponsonby, acknowledged, I cannot comment on the specifics of live or threatened litigation.

I acknowledge and appreciate the support the noble Baroness, Lady Janke, has given in general to the changes we have made to the cost-control mechanism—but there is more I want to say. I will talk through the general background, to reassure the noble Lord, Lord Davies, of the reasons for the Government’s decision. I will start by commenting on the policy rationale, starting with amending directions.

In Grand Committee, I brought to your Lordships’ attention that the Treasury had published amending directions on 7 October 2021 that will allow schemes to complete the cost-control element of the 2016 valuation process. These amending directions confirm that the increase in value of schemes associated with the McCloud remedy will be taken into account in the completion of the cost-control element of the 2016 valuations. The Government believe this is right, given that addressing the discrimination identified in the Court of Appeal’s judgment by giving members a choice of scheme benefits for the remedy period involves increasing the value of members’ pensions.

The cost-control mechanism was designed to assess costs arising from a change in value of schemes to members. Failure to capture the value of the remedy could have meant that members’ benefits may have changed going forwards, based on an incomplete and inaccurate assessment of the value of these pension schemes. This would represent an unacceptable risk to taxpayers, contrary to the objectives of the mechanism.

Turning to some specific detail on ceiling breaches, the Government have previously announced their intention to waive any ceiling breaches that arise from the 2016 valuations, and this is implemented by the current version of Clause 80. However, any floor breaches that occur will be honoured. This means that no member will see a reduction to their benefits as a result of the 2016 valuations. This decision, and the completion of the 2016 valuations, should provide certainty to scheme members over their benefits.

I will attempt at this stage to answer the point raised by my noble friend Lord Hodgson of Astley Abbotts and the noble Lord, Lord Ponsonby, about the use of directions. The Government acknowledge the key interest of the House in the scrutiny of secondary and tertiary legislation. The DPRRC considered this Bill and chose not to bring forward any comments for the attention of the House. The Government have powers under Section 12 of the PSPA 2013 to set out in Her Majesty’s Treasury’s directions what costs must be taken into account as part of the cost-control valuations. More broadly, I acknowledge the points my noble friend made; I have no doubt that Hansard will be read and I will say simply that his points are noted.

I will now say a few words about the amendment itself. The amendment seeks to amend the Treasury’s powers, set out in Section 12 of the Public Service Pensions Act 2013, to make directions which set the employer cost cap. Section 12 grants the Treasury a wide power to specify in directions which costs should be taken into account as part of the cost-control mechanism.

The amendment put forward by the noble Lord seeks to amend subsection (4) by omitting paragraph (c). I understand that the noble Lord’s intention is to remove the Treasury’s power to specify that the costs of remedy, or any other costs associated with the legacy schemes, should be accounted for in the mechanism.

This amendment may not have what I understand to be the noble Lord’s intended effect of preventing the increased value associated with the McCloud remedy from being included in the mechanism at the 2016 valuations. Subsection (4) sets out the type of costs that Treasury directions may specify for inclusion in the cost-control mechanism, but it is not intended to be an exhaustive list; rather, it provides some illustrative examples of how the wide power in subsection (3) may be exercised. I also note that the 2021 amending directions came into effect on 8 October 2021, as I mentioned earlier, under the existing powers. The noble Lord’s amendment as drafted would have no effect on the 2021 amending directions.

I want to attempt to answer some questions that were raised by the noble Lord, Lord Davies, supported, I think, by the noble Baroness, Lady Janke. There was some debate about why members are being made to pay for, as they put it, mistakes made by the Government. When the cost-control mechanism was established, it was agreed that it would consider only costs that affect the value of a scheme to members. Addressing the discrimination identified in the McCloud and Sargeant judgments by giving members a choice of scheme benefits for the remedy period involves increasing the value of schemes to members. The costs associated with this should therefore be taken into account as part of the cost-control element of the 2016 valuations process. However, any ceiling breaches that occur will be waived, no member will see a reduction in benefits as a result of the 2016 valuations, and any floor breaches that occur will be honoured.

The noble Lord, Lord Davies, asked when we will introduce amendments to reform the cost-control mechanism. I hope I can provide some reassurance by saying that the Government published our response to the consultation on the CCM on 4 October, we are currently working through our options and we will legislate for changes to the mechanism when parliamentary time allows. While a precise date has not been set—I am sorry I cannot give that date—the aim is to implement any changes in time for the 2020 valuations. As should now be clear, the Government have no intention of tabling an amendment in the House of Lords to implement these reforms. Instead, the package of amendments being introduced in this House are technical amendments that ensure the consistent application and legal operability of measures in the Bill.

I hope that, with these explanations, I have provided the noble Lord, Lord Davies, in particular, with some helpful reassurances on the policy rationale and the powers used, and I ask him to withdraw his amendment.

Lord Davies of Brixton Portrait Lord Davies of Brixton (Lab)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

My Lords, at the appropriate time I will indicate that I will withdraw the amendment. I am prepared to accept the advice that it does not actually achieve what I would like to achieve, and that the retrospective factor needs to be taken into account. But I would just like to highlight an issue mentioned by my noble friend Lord Ponsonby.

What the decision to make this a member cost means is that it will impact on those members who gain no benefit from the remedy. The remedy is not arbitrary, but there are broad patterns in who benefits from the remedy, and large numbers of members do not benefit from the remedy but will be affected by the inclusion of this as a member cost in the cost-control mechanism. The Government have suggested that they chose the four-year period within the cost-control mechanism for undertaking the calculation because they did not want to impact on future members of the scheme who gain no benefit from the remedy, but exactly the same problem applies to many current members of the scheme who will be active members during the relevant four-year period. To me, that sounds like an argument that the remedy should not be treated as a member cost, because of its inequitable impact.

I am very grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Hodgson, for his remarks. This is an issue that I have perhaps said more about than I originally intended, but I very much hope it will be taken seriously. What comes to me from it is that it is not easy to say what is or is not suitable to be dealt with through particular types of legislation. The issue is the impact it has, not its precise formulation—and making it a member cost has a substantial impact and so should get the appropriate level of consideration.

I note what the Minister said about the amendments to the cost-control mechanism and that he did not rule out the possibility that it would be added to this Bill during its Commons stages. I am a bit concerned about the idea of debating such significant changes in the context of the ping-pong process, so maybe he could give some sort of reassurance on that. But subject to those points, I beg leave to withdraw my amendment.

Amendment 114 withdrawn.
17:00
Amendments 115 to 117
Moved by
115: Clause 80, page 56, line 3, at end insert—
“(1A) After subsection (1) insert—“(1A) Subsection (1) must be complied with before the end of the period of one year beginning with the day on which the scheme’s first valuation under section 11 is completed.””Member’s explanatory statement
This amendment imposes a time limit for scheme regulations to comply with section 12(1) of the Public Service Pension Schemes Act 2013 (which requires scheme regulations to set the employer cost cap for the scheme).
116: Clause 80, page 56, line 35, leave out “(5) and” and insert “(4A) to”
Member’s explanatory statement
This amendment is consequential on the new subsection inserted into this Clause after subsection (5).
117: Clause 80, page 56, line 35, at end insert—
“(4A) After subsection (1) insert—“(1A) Subsection (1) must be complied with before the end of the period of one year beginning with the day on which the scheme’s first valuation under section 11 is completed.””Member’s explanatory statement
This amendment imposes a time limit for scheme regulations to comply with section 12(1) of the Public Service Pension Schemes Act (Northern Ireland) 2014 (which requires scheme regulations to set the employer cost cap for the scheme).
Amendments 115 to 117 agreed.
Clause 86: Power to make provision in relation to certain fee-paid judges
Amendment 118
Moved by
118: Clause 86, page 63, line 8, at end insert—
“(vi) section 57 (interest and process).”Member’s explanatory statement
This amendment ensures that regulations under Clause 86 are capable of including provision about interest.
Amendment 118 agreed.
Clause 88: Section 91 of the Pensions Act 1995
Amendment 119
Moved by
119: Clause 88, page 65, line 3, at end insert—
“(3) Subsection (4) applies in relation to any reference in section 356 of the Armed Forces Act 2006 (avoidance of assignment of, or charge on, pay and pensions etc) to an assignment (or, in Scotland, assignation) of, or an agreement to assign, any relevant pay or pension (within the meaning of that section).(4) The reference does not include anything done under or by virtue of this Part of this Act.”Member’s explanatory statement
This amendment ensures that the restrictions in section 356 of the Armed Forces Act 2006 do not apply to the operation of Part 1 of the Bill.
Amendment 119 agreed.
Clause 90: Power to make consequential provision
Amendment 120
Moved by
120: Clause 90, page 65, line 9, at end insert—
“(1A) Regulations under this section may make retrospective provision.”Member’s explanatory statement
This amendment ensures that the power to make consequential provision in this clause can be used to make provision that operates in relation to times before it is made.
Amendment 120 agreed.
Amendment 121
Moved by
121: After Clause 90, insert the following new Clause—
“Guidance
(1) Within six months of the day on which this Act is passed the Government must lay before Parliament a copy of draft guidance to members of pension schemes affected by this Part.(2) The purpose of the guidance under subsection (1) is to ensure members are able to make informed choices about their pensions.(3) The guidance may also outline plans by the Government to— (a) notify members if they are entitled to apply for compensation under the provisions of this Part, and provide them with the information necessary to do so, and(b) provide a free helpline or online service which members can use to receive further guidance about their pension.(4) Within six months of the day on which the guidance is published the Government must lay before Parliament a report on its effectiveness in achieving the purpose in subsection (2).”Member’s explanatory statement
This amendment would require the Government to publish guidance to members of pension schemes affected by this Part and allows for provision of a helpline or online service to offer further assistance. The amendment also ensures that the Government informs individuals if they are due compensation.