(Except clauses 1, 3, 16, 183, 184 and 200 to 212, schedules 3 and 41 and certain new clauses and new schedules) - Clause 51 - Abolition of contracting out of state second pension: consequential amendments etc

Part of Finance Bill – in a Public Bill Committee am 9:10 am ar 11 Mehefin 2013.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Chris Leslie Chris Leslie Shadow Minister (Treasury) 9:10, 11 Mehefin 2013

Good morning, Mr Crausby. I know how keen everyone is to be up and running back in Committee. How we have missed it since last week. But fear not, because we are back and settling in for a good scrutiny session.

Clause 51 deals with consequential amendments following the abolition of contracting out of the state second pension. It would be useful if the Minister gave us a brief explanation of how far the clause extends into wider questions about that abolition, the discussion of which will shortly take place on the Floor of the House on Second Reading of the Pensions Bill. Pensions provisions are very technical, and some people find it difficult not to glaze over when discussing them, but not me; I find them absolutely riveting and scintillating. They matter because they affect our constituents, if not ourselves, long in advance of our reaching the golden age of retirement. Will the Minister set out how the clause relates to such wider questions?

Changes have already been made to the contracting out of defined contribution pension schemes, but I do not think that the clause extends to the proposal—it may be in the Pensions Bill—about the contracting out of defined benefit pension schemes. There are obviously big questions about that reform. In general, we all want to move towards simplicity and we welcome simplification of the pensions system. It would help if the Minister gave us an overview of how the clause relates to that.

I have specific questions about those who will be affected by the implementation of the new start date in relation to the state second pension arrangements—it used to be known as the state earnings-related pension scheme—that changed in about 2007. An enhanced single-tier pension is planned for when those schemes disappear, but people will be asked to pay in for more years—35 years as opposed to 30 years—which has a cost and some consequences.

Similarly, those who might have enjoyed a relief from a discount in national insurance contributions after having opted out of the state second pension, because they were in a defined benefit scheme—they are typically in the public sector, where defined benefit schemes are prevalent—will contribute significantly more. The Treasury  has already pencilled in billions of pounds of gain from April 2016. Will the Minister elaborate, and generously indulge me by letting me ask questions along the way?