§ Mr. Wilkinson
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services whether he intends to make regulations extending the powers of the occupational pensions board to modify the rules of occupational pension schemes to enable them to reduce surplus funds in accordance with schedule 22 to the Income and Corporation Taxes Act 1988.
§ Mr. Scott
My right hon. Friend has intended making regulations under section 64(1 A) of the Social Security Act 1973 to enable the Occupational Pensions Board to authorise modification of the rules of occupational pension schemes to enable them to reduce any surplus in scheme funds in any of the ways specified in schedule 22 to the Income and Corporation Taxes Act 1988. The board, to which draft regulations giving effect to this proposal were referred, has received legal advice that regulations made under section 64(1A) could not work in the way intended. I have decided, therefore, to withdraw the draft regulations and to await the report of the board on the matters which I have referred to it today, before proceeding further.
§ Mr. Gwilym Jones
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services whether he will invite the occupational pensions board to consider whether further measures are needed to safeguard the interests of members of occupational pension schemes, the role of trustees of such schemes and associated issues.
§ Mr. Scott
I have today asked the occupational pensions board to consider and report to my right hon. Friend on the following issues:
- (i) the balance to be struck between employers' legitimate interests and those of members of occupational pension schemes;
- (ii) the involvement of pension schemes in company mergers and takeovers;
- (iii) the extent to which decisions of the trustees of occupational pensions schemes should be unanimous and the circumstances in which one or more trustees may act on their own;
- (iv) the need for independent trustees of pension
- (v) whether restrictions should be placed on investments by pension funds in companies to which they relate; and
- (vi) any other measures to safeguard the rights of members.
My right hon. Friend has asked to receive the board's report before the end of the year.