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Pension Bill lacks depth due to Brown limit probe

The Pensions Bill is lacking in detail because all references to the parallel Inland Revenue pensions simplification review have been removed since the Chancellor put the project on hold, Money Marketing has been told.

Chancellor Gordon Brown&#39s decision to ask the National Audit Office to assess the effect of the proposed £1.4m lifetime limit for individual pension funds means that the Department for Work and Pensions has been unable to include references to the Revenue&#39s project in its bill, according to industry sources.

The NAO is due to give the Treasury its verdict before the Budget on March 17 and the bill is expected to include substantially more detail when it gets its second reading later in March.

Clerical Medical pensions strategy manager Nigel Stammers says: “Because we do not yet know whether the Inland Revenue review is going ahead, it seems the consequence is that the Pensions Bill lacks detail. Detail is likely to be added when the bill gets its second reading next month.”

Scottish Equitable pensions development director Stewart Ritchie says: “If this is the case, then it is just one more unfortunate consequence of the Chancellor&#39s delay in finalising the Inland Revenue consultation.”

A DWP spokesman says: “The department would dispute the claim that the Pensions Bill appears to show a complete lack of cross-departmental co-operation. The bill is one part of Government proposals to simplify taxation around pensions as well as enabling people to work longer if they wish and give them a better choice on how and when they retire.

“The Pensions Bill is part of this commitment with further work and detail which is set to be announced in the HM Treasury and Inland Revenue&#39s Finance Bill. We are also working closely with the Department of Trade and Industry on extending working life.”

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