We discussed HMRC’s recent Countdown Bulletin in the previous issue of our update. Now, less than seven months before the introduction of the New State Pension in April 2016 and the abolition of the option to contract out of the State Second Pension, we urge scheme sponsors to consider if a statutory consultation exercise will be required where they intend to amend schemes to offset increased NI and / or payroll costs. If they do so wish to amend, employers will have to set aside a 60 day period for consultation before they can implement any amendment, and employers should factor this into their planning accordingly.

Whether or not a scheme employer has to consult will of course depend on the nature of any proposed amendment (that is to say if it is a 'listed change' to the scheme, to which we refer above); for instance, a proposal to increase members’ contributions triggers the requirement to consult.