The Pensions Bill received its second reading in the House of Lords on 14 May. The Bill is now in the Committee stage. A number of amendments have been suggested:

Independent Public Sector Pensions Commission

  • It is proposed that an independent commission be established by 1 January 2010 to:
    • advise the Government on affordability issues in relation to state pension provision;
    • conduct annual state pension coverage impact assessments; and
    • publish annual projections of the proportion of pensioners facing different withdrawal rates.

Report on tax relief on pension contributions

  • the Secretary of State be required to publish a report on tax relief on pension contributions by 1 April 2008, including details of affordability and practicalities of the existing tax benefit regime.

Review of Pension Credit entitlement

  • the Secretary of State be required to lay before each House of Parliament every five years a report on current and likely future rates of pension credit entitlement and any other matters he considers to be relevant to the eligibility for pension credit.

Report on longevity

  • the Government Actuary be required to present a report to Parliament setting out the latest evidence on trends in longevity. The report must be presented every five years beginning in April 2014.

Pension Commission

  • to establish a body corporate (the Commission), independent of any Minister of the Crown or any government department to keep under review:
    • demographic trends;
    • private pension savings;
    • terms and affordability of public sector pensions;
    • participation in pension schemes; and
    • other relevant factors.

The Commission shall give advice to the Secretary of State and the Personal Accounts Delivery Authority (an independent body that will be established to advise the Government on the design and operation of the personal accounts scheme, proposed in the Pensions Bill) on these changes and on appropriate policy responses to them and shall every four years publish a report of its findings and recommendations. The Secretary of State shall be required to lay before Parliament his written response to the Commission’s report within six months of that report.