Archbishop of York asks Government about consultation process for new pension regulations

On 15th January 2019 the House of Lords debated a Motion to Approve the Occupational and Personal Pension Schemes (Amendment etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations 2018.  The Archbishop of York, Most Revd John Sentamu, spoke during the debate:

The Archbishop of York: My Lords, I just wanted to ask the Minister: how much consultation was undertaken with industry before the first regulations were produced? Did industry suggest, rightly, that this would cause trouble for the Pensions Regulator and others because it was bigger than just the United Kingdom? I listened to the noble Lord who said that he did not think that these small, technical changes required the same amount of consultation. If that is the case, we must distinguish each regulation from others. If one takes a generalised view of consultation, one can never have proper legislation that requires greater scrutiny than other legislation.

As far I am concerned, I was persuaded by the noble Lord that this is purely technical. From what I am hearing, it is. If, of course, as happened yesterday, there is no question of a no deal and the House of Commons says the same thing, and the same thing happens today, these regulations may not be necessary. But any sensible planner must always plan for all contingencies. You cannot go blindly in one direction alone—so I want to know.


Lord Adonis (Lab)….A point was raised perfectly properly by the most reverend Primate the Archbishop of York that one should prepare for contingencies, but these are contingencies entirely of the Government’s making. They are not talking about preparing contingencies for, if I may say so, acts of God or other things that happen for which one cannot be accountable. When I was Secretary of State for Transport, a volcano went off and we had to get planes flying when there were big ash clouds. One should be expected to make contingencies for those kinds of things over which one has no control. In the case of the contingency for which we are discarding all our normal consultation mechanisms, playing fast and loose with a regulatory regime and, as my noble friend said, not taking account of the wider policy context and what may happen as a result of no deal, it is all self-inflicted by the Government because they are sticking to a self-imposed deadline…

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Baroness Buscombe) (Con):…Any suggestion by noble Lords that there has been no consultation is simply not true. I reassure the most reverend Primate the Archbishop of York that consultation took place with those involved in the bespoke part of the industry concerning cross-border activity within the EU. These SIs do not have any policy intent. They do not change policy; they are minor and technical amendments. It is not our role to look at the implications of a deal or no deal; it is more about ensuring that there is preparedness for a no deal and legal certainty when we leave the EU on 29 March.

%d bloggers like this: