Short title and commencement

Part of Savings (Government Contributions) Bill – in a Public Bill Committee am 9:25 am ar 1 Tachwedd 2016.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Ian Blackford Ian Blackford Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Pensions) 9:25, 1 Tachwedd 2016

I beg to move amendment 10, in clause 6, page 3, leave out lines 36 to 39 and insert—

‘(2) This Act comes into force on the day after the establishment of an Independent Pensions and Savings Commission.’

This amendment would delay the commencement of the products until an independent pensions and savings commission is established.

The amendment would delay the commencement of the products until an independent pensions and savings commission was established. The Scottish National party has long called for the establishment of an independent pensions and savings commission to look at the crisis in saving for retirement. Following the success of the Turner commission, we should recognise that we need a standing commission to help us steer a long-term, sustainable path for pensions and savings. The Cridland commission is looking at the state retirement and pensionable age, which we welcome, but all such matters should be looked at holistically.

A commission of experts, free from political influence, could focus on all aspects of pensions and savings, with a view to delivering a universal pensions and savings system that enables dignity in retirement. Such a commission is needed to minimise politically motivated changes to pensions and savings, with the aim of eliminating complexity and perverse incentives. We have voiced our legitimate concerns that the Bill risks undermining pension savings and redirecting consumers to products that will not confer the greater level of benefits that pension savings offer. We need to pause and consider what we are seeking to achieve with pensions and other savings products, while making sure that we build confidence in pension savings in particular.

Malcolm McLean of Barnett Waddingham, the pensions consultant, who is a former head of the Pensions Advisory Service, said:

“Much of pension policy seems to be dictated by political expediency rather than the needs of consumers… Political time horizons are too short. Pension policy is controlled by a government whose agenda is short-term, yet pensions are a long-term issue.”

Chris Noon, a partner at the consultancy Hymans Robertson, also commented on the need to free pensions from the political system, saying:

“Political temptation to raid pensions in hard times is too great. We need less meddling and more long-term thinking. We need to get the best brains together to work out how we deal with longer term, intergenerational issues.”