HC Deb 05 November 2003 vol 412 c675W
Ms Atherton

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what measures the Government plans to introduce to regulate contribution holidays by occupational pension schemes. [135826]

Malcolm Wicks

Government proposals for regulating occupational pension schemes are set out in the documents "Simplifying the taxation of pensions: increasing choice and flexibility for all" (December 2002) and "Working and Saving for Retirement: Action on Occupational Pensions" (June 2003) Cm 5835. These do not contain specific proposals regarding contribution holidays. However, our proposed simplified tax regime for approved pension schemes would abolish the rules that currently require approved occupational pension schemes to run off their surplus funds or lose their full tax exempt status.

We also propose to replace the Minimum Funding Requirement, now widely regarded as inadequate, with scheme-specific funding arrangements intended to ensure that the level of contributions is sufficient to meet a scheme's long-term pension commitments. Trustees and employers, with the scheme actuary's advice, will develop and agree the funding strategy for their scheme in line with this objective.