HL Deb 23 March 1960 vol 222 cc142-3

My Lords, I beg leave to ask the Question which stands in my name on the Order Paper.

[The Question was as follows:

To ask Her Majesty's Government bow many pension schemes have so far provided for application to be made to the Registrar for permission to contract out of the graded pension benefits under the new National Insurance Scheme; what decisions have been made in the various pension schemes for employees in the public sector and whether, in view of the fact that the new national scheme is due to come into force in April, 1961, they are satisfied with the progress made by both public and private schemes in reaching decisions on the question of contracting out.]


My Lords, I am grateful to my noble friend for asking this Question, but I must ask your Lordships' indulgence for the rather long answer that I must give. Employers who contemplate contracting out of the graduated scheme may submit their own pension schemes to the Registrar for examination before they make a formal application. Modifications which may have to be made to satisfy the various statutory requirements can be discussed during this preliminary canter. About 350 schemes have already been submitted to the Registrar in this way. Formal applications are appropriate only at the next stage, when any necessary modications have been made, and after the statutory notice has been given to the employees.

The new system of graduated contributions and benefits will come into operation in the first week of April, 1961. Employers who contemplate contracting out should submit their formal applications in good time so that the Registrar can deal with them before that date. There is no closing date for such applications, but employers who leave it too late may not receive their certificates by April, 1961. In such cases they would be accountable for the graduated contributions under the National Insurance Scheme until their certificates can be issued and take effect. A certificate may be applied for at any time before or after the first week of April, 1961, and it can be cancelled at a month's notice.

As regards the second part of my noble friend's Question, in the public, as in the private, sector, the decision to participate fully or to contract out of the new graduated part of the National Insurance scheme is a matter for consultation between the employers and their staffs concerned. Consultations are going on, but at this stage it is neither possible nor right for me to forecast what the decision in particular cases may be.


My Lords, I am much obliged to the noble Earl for his full reply.