§ Mr. Lidington
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will make a statement about the implementation of schedule 5 to the Social Security Act 1989 and paragraph 7 of schedule 4 to the Social Security Act 1990.
§ Miss Widdecombe
These provisions were designed to give effect to EC directive 86/378 on equal treatment in occupational social security schemes which was due to be implemented by 1 January 1993. However the European Court of Justice held in the Barber case on 17 May 1990 that occupational pensions are pay and must be equal under article 119 of the EC treaty. This has left considerable areas of uncertainty, including questions as to the status of the directive and the validity of the derogations it would have allowed. We expect the Coloroll case, which is currently before the European Court of Justice, to begin to resolve some of these uncertainties. I have, therefore, decided not to bring schedule 5 to the 1989 Act into force with effect from 1 January 1993 but to introduce legislation, amended as necessary, when the uncertainties are resolved. I shall consider the implementsation of paragraph 7 of schedule 4 to the 1990 Act in the context of this legislation and of any consequential review of provisions relating to contracting out.