Peter Lilley, MP for Hitchin and Harpenden, said: “Members of public sector pension schemes ? including MPs ? whose pensions are underwritten by the taxpayer should in all fairness make a contribution to the new fund being set up to bail out pension schemes whose employers have become insolvent.?
Peter Lilley was speaking in the House of Commons when the Pensions Minister revealed that an annual levy of roughly ?20 for each member of a private sector pension scheme would be paid into the new bail-out fund.
Peter Lilley added: “The government argued that the tax payer should not support this new bail-out fund since many taxpayers are not themselves members of pension schemes and it would be unfair to make them support those who are. But that argument does not apply to those of us who belong to public sector pension schemes. Our pensions are effectively guaranteed by the Treasury. So we should be required to make a contribution out of our own salaries to help those in pension schemes which lack that guarantee.?
Peter Lilley is a trustee of the Parliamentary Contributory Fund as well as being a former Secretary of State responsible for pensions.
Note to Editors:
Copy of Peter Lilley?s intervention in the Pensions Debate yesterday, 8th September, is attached.
Mr. Lilley: Does the Minister agree that, if a levy of around ?20 per member of private pension funds, which are not guaranteed by the state, is to be made, it should be extended to members of public sector pension funds, which are guaranteed by the state, including hon. Members? In all fairness, we should not be exempt from making a contribution towards underwriting funds if members of private sector funds have to make such a contribution or have it made for them.
Malcolm Wicks: The right hon. Gentleman is an expert in the matter, but with all due respect, I believe that that is more of a debating point than a substantive point. Clearly, the state ultimately stands behind most public sector pension schemes and we are making reforms to those schemes. For example, we believe that we should no longer have a position whereby one can draw a pension, albeit reduced, at the age of 50. We contend that, in future, that should not happen until the age of 55. That will be discussed with the professions and the unions. Several such developments are occurring. That is the way to tackle issues about funding in the public sector, not the way that the right hon. Gentleman described.
Hansard, 8th September 2004