HC Deb 21 October 2002 vol 391 cc118-9W
Dr. Francis

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what discussions he has had with EU counterparts on protection of employees' pension rights. [75029]

Mr. McCartney

We regularly take the opportunity to exchange views with EU counterparts on respective national approaches to pensions issues, including exchanging information and best practice. The UK also continues to participate fully in the ongoing development of the draft EU Directive on Institutions for Occupational Retirement Provision, which aims to put in place common requirements for the supervision of occupational pension schemes, including appropriate provisions for scheme members, in order to promote mobility.

Dr. Francis

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what steps he is taking to ensure that advancements in information collection are used to inform pension-holders of their rights and opportunities. [75030]

Mr. McCartney

Pension providers, including occupational pension schemes, are required to provide information to pension holders and members of pension schemes at certain times or following specific events. They are able to make use of developments in information technology in order to meet these requirements, provided the person to whom the information is intended has access to the technology and is able to receive the information intended for them. The Government encourages schemes to consider the most appropriate routes for distributing information to members and to make full use of the advancements in information technology.

Paul Flynn

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment has been made of the current arrangements for winding up pension schemes; and what consideration will be given to providing greater protection to pension funds. [75024]

Mr. McCartney

The current provisions for winding up occupational pension schemes set out in the Pensions Act 1995 and subsequent regulations are intended to provide a fair and equitable distribution of assets.

In April of this year the Government introduced a package of measures designed to speed up the winding up process. This legislation places greater visible accountability on those people who are involved in winding up a pension scheme and will help to ensure that the benefits that members are entitled to are secured more quickly.

The Government is determined to protect the longterm security of pensioners and other pension scheme members in occupational pension schemes.

In his report to the Government Alan Pickering proposed a number of measures designed to protect pension scheme members on wind up, and ease the administrative burden faced by trustees. These issues, along with others in the Pickering Report will be addressed in the forthcoming Green Paper on Pensions.

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