Pensions bill possible as date set for Queen’s Speech

James Phillips reports...

Boris Johnson’s government will deliver its first Queen’s Speech on 14 October, the prime minister has announced.

Johnson, and Lord President of the Privy Council, Jacob Rees-Mogg, will later today seek permission from the Queen to prorogue parliament in order to prepare for the legislative announcement.

In a letter to MPs, Johnson said the speech would contain “a new bold and ambitious domestic agenda for the renewal of our country after Brexit”, noting it would include policies on the NHS, crime, infrastructure, and the cost of living.

However, the Queen’s Speech may include provision for a pensions bill, comprising policies on powers for The Pensions Regulator, an authorisation and supervision regime for defined benefit (DB) consolidators and collective defined contribution (CDC) schemes, and the pensions dashboard.

Under Theresa May’s government, pensions and financial inclusion minister Guy Opperman pledged to introduce a “substantial private pensions bill” if allowed, noting the process could take nine to 12 months, plus any time needed for secondary legislation.

The content of such a bill is unlikely to have changed, with both Opperman and work and pensions secretary Amber Rudd remaining in post following Johnson’s ministerial reshuffle.

The bill was named by industry commentators as one of the most pressing pensions priorities for the new government. Meanwhile, Opperman has also mooted launching a new pensions commission, which could also feature in any bill.

If approved by the Queen, as is likely, parliament will be prorogued from the second week of September until mid-October, when the legislative agenda is announced, and then votes on the content are expected to take place on 21 and 22 October.

It has been more than two years since a government last set out a legislative agenda, with May holding a two-year parliamentary session immediately after the 2017 general election.