UK - The new pensions regulator will cost at least £6m a year more than the existing Occupational Pensions Regulatory Authority, the House of Lords has been told.
Pensions minister Baroness Hollis of Heigham – speaking during the committee stage of the Pensions Bill – said the new body would cost schemes £23m, compared with £17m for OPRA’s final year, 2004-05.
She said the extra money would go towards the hiring of 40 additional staff members and to ensure it could increase its powers and police the Pension Protection Fund.
Conservative work and pensions spokesman Lord Higgins hit out at the “considerable additional cost”, which he said could lead to further final salary scheme closures.
“Inevitably, there will be some employers – but one hopes very few – who will feel that they do not wish to bear the additional cost.
“It is very simple to avoid the levy by closing down the pension scheme.
There is a danger that the Bill overall puts another nail in the coffin of final salary schemes.”
Hollis said there was a possibility that schemes would be forced to repay costs to the regulator once they were in surplus.
“It is possible that at some stage in the future parliament may, through regulations or whatever, decide to amend (the system) because it wishes to see certain expenses incurred by the regulator referred back to the organisation that generated the costs.”
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