Here is our weekly summary of key legal and regulatory developments relevant to occupational pension schemes that you might have missed, with links for further information.
The Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) bill continues to make its way through the Houses of Parliament. The bill was introduced into the House of Commons in September 2022. It has now reached the “ping-pong” stage. This means that it has been reviewed in detail by both the House of Commons and the House of Lords, and the two houses are now sending proposed amendments back and forth to each other. While nothing of significance occurred during the bill’s passage through the Commons, key amendments were made to the bill at the Lords stage. These included an amendment by the government that there would be a schedule listing each piece of retained EU law that would be revoked with effect from 31 December 2023 (rather than the opposite, i.e. all retained EU law would be revoked, unless explicitly preserved). This amendment was approved by the Lords, but with an additional tweak – that the list of laws would be scrutinised, and anything found to result in a substantial change to UK law would be debated and voted on and, if not agreed by both houses, would not be revoked. This latter amendment was not approved by the House of Commons. Further amendments by the Commons were returned to the Lords for consideration on 6 June 2023.
The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities has published a further consultation in relation to the ‘McCloud’ remedy in the Local Government Pension Scheme in England and Wales (LGPS). In McCloud, the court found that transitional protections the government had given to older members of public sector pension schemes, when public sector schemes were reformed in 2014 and 2015, had unlawfully discriminated against younger members on grounds of age. The government undertook a consultation in 2020 setting out proposals to address the age discrimination issues identified by the court. The government published its response to the 2020 consultation on 6 April 2023. In the LGPS, transitional protection had been provided to older members by way of an underpin. The government said, in April 2023, that it would address this discrimination by extending underpin protection to younger members of the LGPS whom the courts found had been treated unlawfully. The current consultation is seeking views on (a) areas where the April 2023 response indicated the government would reconsult to obtain further views, (b) areas that the original consultation did not address, and (c) draft scheme regulations. Consultation closes on 30 June 2023.
HMRC has published pension schemes newsletter 150. It contains a reminder of the 5 July 2023 deadline for filing annual returns of information, and notes that, in respect of the tax year ending 5 April 2024 (and subsequent tax years), pension scheme returns should be submitted via the new Managing Pension Schemes service. Trustees should take steps to migrate their pension scheme over from the old Pension Schemes Online service. It is unlikely that your scheme administrator will be doing this on your behalf; the requirement is personal to pension scheme trustees. If in doubt about what actions you need to take, speak with your scheme administrator or your usual firm contact.
If you would like specific advice on any of these issues or on anything else, please contact a member of our Pensions team.