HC Deb 22 February 1965 vol 707 cc15-6
15. Sir C. Osborne

asked the Minister of Labour whether, in order to provide greater flexibility of labour, especially in the managerial class, he will introduce legislation to make illegal non-transferable pension rights; and if he will make a statement.

30. Mr. Peter Walker

asked the Minister of Labour when he will introduce a Bill dealing with the transferability of all private pension schemes.

Mr. Gunter

A Committee of my National Joint Advisory Council is at present considering how wider provision might be made for the preservation of occupational pension rights on change of employment. I shall consider what action should be taken in the light of the Committee's report.

Sir C. Osborne

Has the Minister any idea how many of these non-transferable pension schemes there are? Will he bear in mind that a middle-aged executive, who is a very good man, is often a prisoner of a bad employer who will not let him take his pension rights with him? Will the right hon. Gentleman do his best to end this scandal?

Mr. Gunter

I have already indicated that this is a complicated and very serious matter. This is one of the things which retards the mobility of labour which we want. I hope that the Committee's report will be of such a character as to enable us to tackle the job of doing something about it. I cannot without notice tell the hon. Gentleman how many such schemes there are.

Mr. Walker

Is the Minister aware that in a manifesto which set out what proposals were poised ready to put into instant action his party promised to see that transferability was made a compulsory element in all pension schemes? How long will this Committee take to study the plans required for this legislation?

Mr. Gunter

We hope that it will proceed with remarkable speed. We have a deep sense of urgency, a sense of urgency which perhaps has not been seen for a long time, in reviewing this complicated problem. As hon. Members opposite know in their position as employers, it is a very complicated problem because of differing rules in the hundreds of separate funds which have been set up.

Mr. H. Hynd

Is my right hon. Friend aware that the Society of Pension Consultants is engaged in a detailed study of this problem? Will he keep in touch with the Society?

Mr. Gunter


Mr. Godber

As the Minister says that he is moving with such great speed in this matter, perhaps he will be good enough to acknowledge that this Committee was set up before the election by the previous Government to look into this matter. Was it not, therefore, kind of us to anticipate the right hon. Gentleman's desire to move forward? Would the Minister agree that there are many aspects of this problem, one of which is that we do not want to discourage other firms from initiating pension schemes?

Mr. Gunter

I think that the right hon. Gentleman misunderstood me. I said that we have brought a real sense of urgency into the Committee's work.