Industry hopeful about pensions and divorce bill revival

Industry hopeful about pensions and divorce bill revival

The future of both the Pensions and Divorce bills is in the balance after all bills advancing through parliament were halted as the government brought forward prorogation.

Bills that didn't have carry over motions were dropped after prime minister Boris Johnson instated the prorogation of parliament this week (September 9).

A carry over motion allows a public bill to continue its progress from one parliamentary session into the next. Bills that have not been passed by the end of the session in which they were introduced will fail and need to be reintroduced in the next session.

Article continues after advert

In the Queen’s speech on October 14 the government will list the main bills to be introduced during the parliamentary session.

It remains to be seen whether the eagerly awaited Pensions Bill and Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Bill will make the cut.

When asked whether it had put forward the Pensions Bill for consideration a spokesperson from the department for Work and Pensions declined to comment but said it would be put forward at the “earliest opportunity”.

The bill includes rules governing the pensions dashboard as well as measures to introduce increased powers for The Pensions Regulator and collective defined contribution schemes.

Andrew Tully, technical director at Canada Life, said: “Although the Pensions Bill cannot be pushed through at the moment, the parts of the bill that have already been drafted will not be lost, meaning that it could be pushed through quicker when it is reintroduced.

“This shows how all encompassing Brexit really is as it is now having an impact on all aspects of government including pensions legislation.

“I personally can’t see the Pensions Bill happening this year but it could be introduced at the beginning of 2020.”

But Steven Cameron, pensions director at Aegon, remained hopeful that Guy Opperman, minister for pension and financial inclusion, will push to get the bill into the Queen’s Speech.

Mr Cameron said: “With Guy Opperman offering much welcome and needed continuity in the pensions space, we are very hopeful that a Pensions Bill will make it into the Queen’s speech. 

“Guy has been clear on what he wants included – pension dashboards, collective defined contribution schemes and measures to improve protection for defined benefit scheme members and we trust much of the necessary legislative work is already underway here. 

“While CDC has only limited impact, the others are important. In particular, we need legislation to require all schemes and providers to provide data to make pension dashboards comprehensive, and we also need the inclusion of state pensions. 

“The absence of a Pensions Bill would likely set the timescales for dashboards back considerably.”

Meanwhile the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Bill, which was to make divorces easier and quicker by replacing the requirement to provide evidence of a "fact" with a requirement to provide a statement, has also been dropped.

This bill, which was at report stage in the House of Commons, also made some amendments to the pension sharing legislation.