MPs launch inquiry into government defined benefit pension proposals

Josh Mines
The inquiry has been launched following the publication of a white paper last month. (Source: Getty)

An inquiry has today been launched by the Work and Pensions Committee that will look to inform the planned consultation on the recommendations made in the government's defined benefit white paper.

It follows the committee last month releasing its 76-page report which, among other recommendations, suggested strengthening The Pension Regulator's (TPR's) powers by allowing it to issue punitive fines to punish "irresponsible activities" that negatively impact pension schemes.

TPR will also be given greater investigative and information-gathering powers, and the government will make it a criminal offence to commit "willfully or grossly reckless behaviour in relation to a pension scheme."

Read more: London passes a momentous landmark in pension saving.

The inquiry will also look at the "specific design" of tougher corporate clearance framework to enable TPR to intervene in corporate transactions.

MPs in the committee will hear evidence on a number of issues raised in the white paper.

Tom McPhail, head of policy at Hargreaves Lansdown commented:

The government’s white paper set out a measured approach to address concerns on governance, funding and regulation. However it also has to work within the constraints of the existing system and the government’s capacity for primary legislation.

The committee’s scrutiny of these processes are unlikely to cause the DWP any great discomfort, however the questions asked about TPR's use of resources and its culture suggest the committee already has some suspicions about where shortcomings in the system may lie. Any oral evidence sessions involving the Regulator may make for interesting viewing.

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