HC Deb 25 February 1986 vol 92 cc803-4
10. Mr. Freeman

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services when he expects to publish the detailed disclosure requirements for occupational pension funds.

Mr. Fowler

Proposals for disclosure of information were originally published in a consultative document in 1984, which was followed last summer by a further consultative document setting out the detailed proposals for regulations. Draft regulations have been considered by the Occupational Pensions Board, the comments of which we are still considering. The regulations will be laid as soon as possible.

Mr. Freeman

Does my right hon. Friend agree that too few members of occupational pension schemes know and understand what their pension benefits are? Will the Government join a national campaign to encourage occupational pensioners better to understand their schemes and benefits?

Mr. Fowler

I support what my hon. Friend says. The whole purpose of the Social Security Act 1985 is to give more information to scheme members, and we shall ensure that that happens.

Mr. Skinner

Is the Secretary of State aware that in the coalfields thousands of retired miners, and miners' widows, receive, as part of a pseudo-occupational pension, a coal allowance? Some others, who have to live in gas-fired accommodation, receive money in lieu. Will he withdraw the circular that went out to local authorities, which has resulted in housing benefit of up to £5 a week being taken away from the disabled of 70 and 80 years of age? Will he do that now?

Mr. Fowler

No, Sir. I will not. That supplementary goes remarkably further than the original question.

Sir Brandon Rhys Williams

Will my right hon. Friend undertake to give further serious study to the problem of achieving not only preservation but real transferability of pension rights for people in middle life and for senior management?

Mr. Fowler

The Government have already taken action in the Social Security Act 1985 to give transfer rights, and we shall do our utmost to give the right of transferability to scheme members. I am entirely at one with my hon. Friend.