SNP revives pensions commission in bill amendment

SNP revives pensions commission in bill amendment

MPs have tabled an amendment to the Pension Schemes Bill calling for a new pensions advisory commission.

The amendment, tabled by Scottish National Party MPs Neil Gray and Richard Thompson, would see the commission report on the impact of collective defined contribution schemes and pension dashboards, alongside the effectiveness of TPR’s new powers.

Established by the Pensions Regulator the commission would be asked to file a report each year, starting in 2022.

The body should include members of the regulator, alongside five individuals appointed on the recommendation of the secretary of state.

In particular the commission would analyse the impact of CDC and dashboards on people in different parts and regions of the United Kingdom, equal treatment of men and women in access to pension provision, and on persons with a protected characteristic under the Equality Act 2010.

The two MPs are also proposing that commercial companies are blocked from operating dashboards until a publicly run service, launched by the Money and Pensions Service, has been running and tested for five years. 

A previous amendment in this area, introduced in the House of Lords with a wait period of one year, has been reversed by pensions minister Guy Opperman, who wants to allow commercial dashboards to run at the same time as the government backed project.

Mr Gray and Mr Thompson are proposing that the pensions commission also reports by October 31, 2021 “on when commercial operators should be able to enter the market for provision of a pensions dashboard service,” the amendment read.

The idea of reviving a pensions commission is not new, with the pensions minister himself suggesting in June 2019 that the government could back a new independent body to address a whole host of retirement issues.

The last Pensions Commission, chaired by Adair Turner, was set up by the government in 2002 and issued two reports in 2004 and 2006, respectively.

The commission was responsible for looking at how the pension system was developing and for making recommendations on whether the system should be reformed.

The Pension Schemes Bill will enter committee stage at the House of Commons on November 3.

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