Katy Little, Parliamentary and Stakeholder Manager at the PLSA, gives an overview of the PLSA’s lobbying work in Parliament in the first half of 2022.
Work and Pensions Select Committee
The Work and Pensions Select Committee’s (WPSC) final inquiry into its three-part deep dive into the pension’s freedoms looks at saving for later life. It focuses on whether households have adequate pension saving for retirement and how the Government can improve outcomes for savers. Key questions from the inquiry ask:
- Whether households in the UK have enough pension savings for retirement?
- What advice and guidance people need when saving for retirement?
- What the Government should be doing to support self-employed people to save for retirement?
- What the Government could be doing to close the gender pension gap?
With pensions adequacy and expanding the scope and level of automatic enrolment a top strategic policy objective for the PLSA this year, we were delighted to attend the first oral evidence session on 23 February.
During the session we answered questions on the next steps for Automatic Enrolment, measures which could increase pension saving for the self-employed and under pensioned groups, and our Retirement Living Standards. We appeared alongside representatives from the Institute of Fiscal Studies, Pensions Policy Institute and Association of British Insurers. The session can be watched in full via Parliament TV and our full written response to the inquiry can be found here. We expect the Committee to make it’s recommendations on saving for later life later this year.
In keeping with the pensions adequacy theme, on 01 March the PLSA attended a roundtable held by the Industry and Parliament Trust that looked at achieving adequacy and the future of pension contributions. It was chaired by Stepehen Timms MP, Chair of the WPSC. We were also joined by Nigel Mills MP, Lord Davies of Brixton and Baroness Wheatcroft. It was a great opportunity for the PLSA to have an intimate discussion with policymakers, on some of the key topics we will focusing on this year. Topics discussed included the level of retirement income required to meet people’s needs, the sustainability of the pension system and ways in which younger generations can be encouraged to save.
The Pension Schemes (Conversion of Guaranteed Minimum Pensions) Bill
The Pension Schemes (Conversion of Guaranteed Minimum Pensions) Bill seeks to provide much needed clarity on the conversion of GMPs to regular scheme benefits. GMP has consistently been one of the topics which our DB and LGPS members have told us are an area on concern. The Bill was introduced by Margaret Ferrier MP last year and is sponsored by the DWP. It is currently being considered by the House of Lords and looks likely to make it onto the statute books in the upcoming weeks. The PLSA has been engaging with the DWP on the regulations which will arise as result of the legislation, including the actuarial certification process and on clarifying which parties must give consent.
The Public Service Pensions and Judicial Offices Bill
The Public Service Pensions and Judicial Offices Bill was introduced to Parliament last year to address the age discrimination found in public service pension schemes following the McCloud and Sargeant court cases. During the late stages of the Bill’s, an amendment was passed which would enable the Government to provide guidance to public service pension scheme managers on investment decisions, including guidance or directions on investment decisions relating to UK foreign and defence policy. Following concerns raised by LGPS members, the PLSA wrote to the Treasury and briefed parliamentarians as the amendment was considered in the Bill’s remaining stages. Lord Davies of Brixton quoted the PLSA’s concerns on the floor of the House, and we await further engagement from Treasury on how this will work in practice for funds, to try and mitigate any further concerns LGPS members have in this area.
Online Safety Bill
The Online Safety Bill aims to protect online users from digital harm and takes steps to holds tech giants to account. The PLSA, collectively with others from the financial sector, has been calling for a requirement in the Online Safety Bill for search engine companies to do more due diligence on paid for search terms and to bring paid for advertisements within the draft Bill’s scope to protect consumers from online pension scams. In a written statement on 09 March the Government has now confirmed, that online adds will be included within the scope of the Online Safety Bill. This a real success for the industry and is an important step to protect savers money from online fraudsters.