Pension Schemes (Conversion of Guaranteed Minimum Pensions) Bill

3rd reading
Wednesday 27th April 2022

(3 months, 2 weeks ago)

Lords Chamber
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Third Reading
Moved by
Baroness Redfern Portrait Baroness Redfern
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That the Bill do now pass.

Baroness Redfern Portrait Baroness Redfern (Con)
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My Lords, I wish to emphasise again that this is a rather technical Bill, which has been made easier because some noble Lords here in the House today are very knowledgeable in this area. Those who spoke during the progress of the Bill have made it very clear that this is an important and long-awaited Bill. There cannot be many Private Members’ Bills that have been repeatedly called for in other debates over the course of several years.

This Bill was expertly presented and taken through the other place by Margaret Ferrier. I thank her, the departmental officials and my right honourable friend the Minister for Pensions for all the work that was done to get this Bill to this place. Though it might look complex as a piece of legislation, the Bill has a simple purpose of helping pension schemes meet their legal obligations. Specifically, it will help occupational pension schemes use the GMP conversion to correct the issue of men and women being treated differently in formerly contracted out defined benefit occupational pension schemes because of the impact of having a guaranteed minimum pension.

It is therefore with very great pleasure that I stand here today to present this Bill as it reaches its final stage in this House.

Baroness Sherlock Portrait Baroness Sherlock (Lab)
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My Lords, I briefly pay tribute to all involved in this Bill, including Margaret Ferrier MP, who steered it through the other place, and the noble Baroness, Lady Redfern, who has done the same for us here.

As the noble Baroness said, my noble friend Lady Drake and I can now stop badgering the Minister for a Bill on GMP equalisation. Although the Government Whips never did come through with government time, I commend the DWP for its wholehearted support of a Private Member’s Bill that happened to cover just the right territory at just the right time.

I am sorry to have missed the earlier stages because of Covid, but I am very grateful to my noble friend Lady Merron, who did such a marvellous job in my place. There are a couple of outstanding issues, such as the position of pension schemes already in the Pension Protection Fund, raised by my noble friend Lady Drake, and the concerns raised by the Delegated Powers Committee, to which Ministers were only able to respond yesterday. However, we do not wish to hold up the Bill, so we will take these offline and hope to deal with them with the Minister before regulation. The key thing is that we are finally about to pass a Bill which the Government are confident will give the necessary legal certainty to schemes seeking to equalise guaranteed minimum pensions. This is good news, and we are pleased to support it.
Baroness Scott of Bybrook Portrait Baroness Scott of Bybrook (Con)
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My Lords, I must again thank my noble friend Lady Redfern for presenting this Bill so ably today. I am pleased to be to here to give my support, and that of the Government, to the Bill. It is an important step towards schemes finally laying to rest the issue of the unequal effect of guaranteed minimum pensions. I pay tribute to my noble friend for her stewardship of the Bill and to other noble Lords who have contributed their views during its passage through the House.

I pay tribute to the late Lord McKenzie of Luton. I am saddened that he is not here to see this Bill through today, and I know that many others here feel the same way.

It is also right that we acknowledge and thank Members of the other place for their contribution. Margaret Ferrier, the honourable Member for Rutherglen and Hamilton West, took the Bill through. It is down to her, and to my noble friend Lady Redfern, that we have the Bill in front of us now. I also thank the Members in the other place who contributed to the debates on the Bill. The cross-party support the Bill has achieved in both Houses shows the long-standing commitment of Members to resolve this issue. This Bill will now provide the industry with the legal clarity it has been seeking in relation to GMP conversion legislation. Once again, I thank my noble friend Lady Redfern and express my and the Government’s strong support for the Bill.

Bill passed.