HC Deb 27 October 1987 vol 121 cc240-1W
19. Mr. Stern

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what progress has been made in implementing new pension choices made available as a result of the Social Security Act 1986.

Mr. Scott

We have made considerable progress. After an extensive period of consultation, we laid regulations in July which established the detailed framework for the new pensions choices.

We are now well on course towards the introduction next April of the changes affecting occupational schemes, in particular the start of money purchase contracting-out. In July 1988 we will complete the process of reform by giving people the right to take a personal pension in place of state earnings-related pension scheme.

29. Mr. Speller

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will make it his policy to seek powers to link the pension received for age with a fixed percentage of the average manual wage.

Mr. Scott

No. We are pledged to maintain the value of retirement pension against inflation, and the legislation gives power to increase it further if it is appropriate to do so. We do not believe a restriction such as is suggested would be appropriate.

39. Mrs. Mowlam

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what plans he has to phase in an equalised pension age for women and men.

Mr. Scott

We acknowledge the arguments for equalising state pension age for men and women, but the social and economic implications of doing so are considerable. We need to examine these in full before deciding whether to make any particular change.

42. Mr. Sayeed

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how the Government propose to make it easier for employers to set up new pension schemes.

Mr. Scott

From 6 April 1988, employers will be able to set up occupational pension schemes which can be contracted out of the state earnings-related pension scheme on a money purchase basis, instead of having to make the open-ended promise of a salary-related pension. The minimum level of contribution required will be equal to the contracted-out national insurance rebate, so a scheme could be set up at virtually no cost to the employer, and new schemes will also qualify for an extra financial incentive until 1993. In addition, we have already simplified the contracting-out conditions for employers with salary-related schemes.