P ensions minister Angela Eagle issued a written ministerial statement on 28 January to the effect that schemes should be equalising GMPs but without explaining why, when or how.

According to the statement, the government has concluded that the equalisation required by the Barber judgment of 17 May 1990 should be extended to GMPs accrued from that date. No reasoning is given for this conclusion, which was reached following work on guidance for FAS-qualifying schemes but is worded as though it applies to all schemes. The government also considers that equalisation is required even if no real comparator exists; this is not consistent with current anti-discrimination legislation.

No indication is given of when any amending legislation might be available nor how schemes should equalise, so unfortunately schemes remain as much in the dark as ever.