Archbishop of York speaks in debate on Pension Schemes Bill

On 5th February 2015, the Archbishop of York, the Most Revd and Rt Hon John Sentamu, spoke during the Third Reading of the Government’s Pension Schemes Bill. He spoke in favour of an amendment relating to the provision of pension guidance. Following assurances from the Minister, the amendment was withdrawn. 

Archbishop of YorkThe Archbishop of York: My Lords, if the Minister is assuring us that there will be information online and people will be able to understand everything, why cannot this amendment be put on the statute book so that there is a duty on the Treasury to inform people about this issue? For me the provision is so simply worded that I do not understand why it cannot be on the statute book.

Lord Newby: My Lords, we are not suggesting that this goes on the statute book because this requirement already exists. The FCA rules on the guidance providers already require guidance to be given in respect of benefits. All we are doing now is fleshing out how we intend those existing rules—which are in the FCA rulebook, or the FCA document which has gone to the organisations providing guidance—will work in respect of benefits and social care.

The Archbishop of York: Could the Minister explain in a clear way that a simple mind like mine would understand whether you are depriving yourself of assets when you take money out of an ISA and put it in a pension fund? How can I be confident that the guidance, which will come from somewhere else, will be more erudite than what I am hearing at the moment? I for one want to say, in this week when we have seen great difficulties in social care provision and when most people are worried about their social care and their pensions, that it seems that this particular bit of legislation actually puts a duty on the Treasury to ensure that it is the one that informs people of this.

Lord Newby: My Lords, for the third time, if you move money from your ISA to your pension pot, that is not a deprivation of asset. The Treasury is in charge of the guidance process.


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