§ Mr. Clifton-Brown
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will make a statement on the effect of amendments agreed in the European Parliament on occupational pensions; and whether these amendments impose(a) obligations and (b) restrictions on the use of tax-free lump sum payments. 
§ Mr. Pond
The finely balanced package of amendments to the Directive on Occupational Pensions, agreed in the European Parliament on 12 March 2003, contributed to a Directive that is an important first step towards a single market for occupational retirement provision. At the same time, the Directive acknowledges that, in accordance with the principle of subsidiarity, member states retain full responsibility for the organisation of their pension systems. The amendments will not affect the use of tax-free lump sum payments.