UK - Is the select committee on pensions turning into a farce?
Industry experts fear so after two MPs appeared to fall asleep while evidence was being presented by actuarial heavyweights.
Andrew Dismore and Andrew Selous were both caught “resting their eyes” while senior figures from the Society of Pensions Consultants, the Faculty of Actuaries and PricewaterhouseCoopers gave their views.
Dismore – Labour MP for Hendon – was the first to take a nap and only stirred after he was prompted to address the floor 20 minutes into the session. And Selous – Conservative MP for South West Bedfordshire – struggled to keep his eyes open throughout.
Those giving evidence were bemused and disappointed by the MPs’ behaviour.
SPC president Donald Duval said: “This is testament to the fact that pensions is a specialist subject, whereas MPs are generalists.
“They get lost in the technicalities of the subject.”
And Duval wondered whether the generous pension arrangements enjoyed by MPs meant they were not in a position to empathise with most of the population who faced pension cuts due to market falls.
He said he was not sure how the select committee was chosen with the exception of chairman Archie Kirkwood MP, but speculated that pensions was not necessarily the major topic of interest for most of them.
Other industry figures, though, were less generous and said the situation made a mockery of the whole concept of having an independent committee on pensions.
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