§ Mr. Waterson
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what arrangements he is making for the transfer of pension rights both to and within the proposed new joint industry scheme on the privatisation of British Rail.
§ Mr. Freeman
In order to facilitate efficient and effective pension arrangements, it is proposed that when BR staff first leave the BR pension scheme or the BR section of the new joint industry scheme, their accrued past service pension rights should be transferred to their new employer's "no less favourable section" of that scheme which will be, in all material respects, identical to the BR section.
In response to concerns that the new pension arrangements will be less secure for staff moving around the railway industry in the future, the Government have agreed that the rules of the new scheme will provide that pensionable service will be treated as continuous even on voluntary transfers between the "no less favourable" sections of participating employers, subject however to certain Inland Revenue restrictions which we cannot override, and to there being no extraordinary circumstances. We have also now agreed that the "indefeasible right" for protected persons—those in service on 5 November 1993—to remain in "no less favourable" sections of the joint industry scheme for so long as their employer remains a part of the railway industry will not be lost where they change jobs voluntarily within the industry. This will provide valuable security for staff moving voluntarily around the industry in the future.