7 days

7 Days is a weekly round up of developments in pensions, normally published on Monday afternoons. We collate this information from key industry sources, such as the DWP, HMRC and TPR.

In this 7 Days

Social Security (Up-rating of Benefits) Act 2021 receives Royal Assent

The Social Security (Up-rating of Benefits) Act 2021 received Royal Assent on 17 November 2021. The Act makes provision relating to the up-rating of certain social security benefits payable in the tax year 2022–23. It temporarily suspends the earnings element of the Triple Lock used to uplift the State Pension, Pension Credit and survivors’ benefits in industrial death benefits (see 7 Days).

During its passage through Parliament, the House of Commons rejected amendments proposed by the House of Lords that would have retained the Triple Lock.

Briefing papers on GMPs published

The House of Commons Library has published a briefing paper on the Private Member’s Bill The Pension Schemes (Conversion of Guaranteed Minimum Pensions) Bill 2021- 22, ahead of its Second Reading in the House of Commons on 26 November 2021. The Bill aims to clarify aspects of existing GMP conversion legislation.

It has also updated the briefing paper on GMP equalisation generally.

HMRC Managing pension schemes service newsletter – November 2021

On 18 November 2021, HMRC published its Managing Pension Schemes service newsletter, updating stakeholders on the latest news for pension schemes. Amongst other things, it has articles on pension scheme migration to the Service, enrolling on it, and updating relevant details.

PPI publishes report on VfM approaches internationally

The PPI published a report on 18 November 2021 which addresses What can other countries teach the UK about measuring Value for Money in pension schemes? The report reviews developments in New Zealand, the Netherlands, Australia, Sweden and the US in relation to the definition of “value for money”, and considers how these could relate to a UK strategy. The report, which is sponsored by TPR, highlights key elements of infrastructure which support value for money, including consensus between relevant parties, clear, measurable standards and benchmarks for performance, and publicly available comparative data.

Mitchells & Butlers Pensions Ltd v Mitchells & Butlers Plc (High Court, Chancery Division)

On 12 November 2021, the High Court ordered the rectification of pension increase provisions contained in the rules of the Mitchells & Butlers Pension Plan (“the Plan”).

The sole corporate trustee of the Plan raised the claim on behalf of the members, against the current principal employer. Rectification was sought for trust deeds and rules from 1996, when an unintended change first entered the Plan’s documentation, and subsequent trust deeds and rules from 2002 and 2006, which perpetuated the change.

The judgment contains discussion of witness statements, and of what constitutes proper consultation of a scheme actuary, and so will be of interest to schemes, lawyers, and actuaries alike.

For further detail, see our case report.