§ Mr. Wyatt
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what discussions he has had with other Departments on the distribution of pension funds when stock market listed companies are involved in takeovers; and if he will make a statement.
§ Dr. Howells
[holding answer 6 February 2001]: None. My Department considers takeovers in line with its competition policy and under the relevant European and UK statutory procedures. Mergers of occupational pension schemes and the distribution of pension funds must take place in accordance with the Pension Act 1995 and Inland Revenue regulations. It is for the trustees of a pension scheme to ensure that changes are carried out in accordance with legislation and do not disadvantage members. Scheme members have a right of challenge to the Occupational Pensions Regulatory Authority if they consider statutory criteria have not been followed.