§ Mr. Andrew MacKay
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether he intends to make regulations on disclosure of information by occupational pension schemes; and whether he intends to set up a register of pension schemes as provided for in the Social Security Act 1985.
§ Mr. Newton
We intend to bring regulations on disclosure of information into effect during 1986. This will be a little later than originally planned, in response to requests in a number of replies to the consultative document to allow pension schemes more time to examine the detail of the regulations and make any administrative changes which are necessary before they come into effect.
Meanwhile, I have today laid regulations concerning other important aspects of the occupational pension 684W provisions of the Social Security Act 1985, for example in giving better protection for the rights of early leavers. These are:The Occupational Pension Schemes (Transfer Values) Regulations 1985,The Contracting-Out (Transfer Premiums) Regulations 1985,The Occupational Pension Schemes (Revaluation) Regulations 1985,The Occupational Pension Schemes (Discharge of Liability) Regulations 1985,The Contracting-Out (Protection of Pensions) Regulations 1985,The Occupational Pension Schemes (Preservation of Benefit) Amendment Regulations 1985.
In considering the need for a register of pension schemes, account has been taken of the estimated costs and staff numbers involved in setting up and running it, the burden which would be placed on schemes and the benefits which could be expected to flow from it. In addition to considering the variety of views expressed in response to the consultation the Government have sought the advice of the Occupational Pensions Board.
Recognising that circumstances have changed significantly since it recommended a register, the board has suggested that the question whether there should be such a register should be reviewed in three years time when the pattern of pension provision will be clearer and there will be some evidence of how effective the regulations on disclosure of information have been. The Government accept this view and have decided not to set up a register of occupational pension schemes at the present time.
The Occupational Pensions Board was concerned, however, that scheme members should be able to obtain the information they are entitled to have about their scheme without difficulty and have suggested that an existing body should have the power to enforce, if necessary, compliance with the disclosure regulations. The Government agree and have decided to ask the OPB to act in this capacity.