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Pensions bill on track despite political challenges, says minister

Guy Opperman

The government remains committed to the delivery of a pensions bill this year and is currently drafting the legislation, pensions minister Guy Opperman says.

In a keynote speech today at the Association of British Insurers conference on long term savings, Opperman underlined the government’s commitment to getting a bill through parliament.

He said the current leadership election to replace Theresa May within the Conservative Party and gridlock over Brexit would not stop legislation on pensions.

Some commentators have expressed scepticism about the government being able to push through a pensions bill this year due to Brexit.

Opperman has previously said he wants to put legislation about collective defined contribution schemes, the pensions dashboard and defined benefit consolidation on the statute books.

Today he said: “If you have questions about the timing of the pensions bill, nothing has changed. There are many civil servants who are working hard on the pensions bill.

“I have seen a draft of the bill that is approximately 60 clauses long and it remains the case I intend to bring legislation forward on CDC, dashboard and DB white paper.

“We need to have a tightly drafted bill and cannot add much to it but we continue as we are. I am an optimist and ministers have to try and drive forward a policy agenda.”

Opperman also gave an update on the pensions dashboard that is scheduled to go live this year.

Earlier today the Money and Pensions Service appointed Pensions Policy Institute head Chris Curry to lead the dashboard delivery group.

Opperman added: “Chris has a wealth of experience and will ensure the delivery of dashboard for consumers. The group will be up and running by the end of the summer. Its job will be to craft data standards for the dashboard so the provision of data from providers is accurate.”

Opperman also said pension and investment managers must “do the right thing” and take their environmental and social responsibilities seriously to help to combat climate change.

New government regulations requiring pension scheme trustees to set out clearly their ESG and climate change policies “have been a game-changer and focused minds”, Opperman told delegates.

He said: “Pension schemes can identify investment opportunities which will make market-beating returns for members as we move to a low-carbon economy.

“They ought to be thinking about the assets which help drive new investment in important sectors of the economy: smaller and medium firms, housing, green energy projects and other infrastructure which deliver the sustainable employment, communities and environments which all of us wish to enjoy.”

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There is one comment at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. Andy Robertson-Fox 3rd June 2019 at 4:37 pm

    I wonder if Opperman, who is the State Pension Scheme Manager, “will do the right thing” himself and abolish the frozen pension policy which denies 4% of all UK pensioners index linking, simply because of where they live?

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