HC Deb 30 November 1999 vol 340 c91W
Ms Atherton

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what plans he has to improve the representation of pensioners on the trustee boards of pension schemes. [99999]

Mr. Rooker

We believe that member trustees add value to pension schemes, and want to increase their coverage.

Our priority is to ensure that schemes have member-nominated trustees, and that members have a fair say in determining the arrangements for appointing them.

The consultation document, "Strengthening the Pensions Framework", which was issued in December 1998, made a number of proposals on member-nominated trustees, including a proposal that large mature schemes should be required to reserve a place on the trustee board for a pensioner member. Responses showed widespread support for the principle of member trustees, but concern about the practical implications of some of the proposals, including that for a reserved place for a pensioner member in large mature schemes.

In the light of the concerns, we set up a working group with the pensions industry and other representative bodies to review the proposals. A further consultation document with revised proposals was issued on 7 October 1999.

The changes we are proposing do not require schemes to have a pensioner trustee, but will ensure that pensioners are given a fair say in the procedures.

Responses to the revised proposals were mostly very encouraging, and we plan to legislate in the forthcoming child support, pensions and social security Bill.