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Pensions Act (Northern Ireland) 2012

Background and Policy Objectives

3.This Act makes provision for Northern Ireland corresponding to the Westminster Pensions Act 2011.

4.In June 2010, the Westminster Government announced a review of the timetable for increasing State Pension age to 66; provided for in the Pensions Act 2007 and the Pensions Act (Northern Ireland) 2008. The response to the review was published in the White Paper A sustainable State Pension: when the State Pension age will increase to 66 (CM 7956) in November 2010.

5.Changes to the timetable for increasing State Pension age to 66 were proposed. The increase would be phased in by October 2020 rather than by 2026.

6.As a result of bringing forward the increase to age 66, the timetable contained in the Pensions (Northern Ireland) Order 1995 (“the 1995 Order”) for equalising women’s State Pension age with men’s by April 2020 will be accelerated so that women’s State Pension age reaches 65 by November 2018.

7.The Act implements a revised timetable.

8.An independent review of automatic enrolment into workplace pensions was announced by the Westminster Government in June 2010. The review examined the scope of the automatic enrolment policy. Recommendations, expanding on measures introduced by the Pensions Act 2008 and the Pensions (No. 2) Act (Northern Ireland) 2008 (“the Pensions (No. 2) Act”), were published in October 2010 in the report Making Automatic Enrolment Work. Those recommendations provide the basis for a number of measures contained in the Act.

9.The Act also introduces changes to existing legislation required as a result of the Westminster Government’s decision to use the Consumer Prices Index rather than the Retail Prices Index as the measure of inflation for indexation and revaluation of occupational pensions and payments from the Pension Protection Fund.

10.A number of technical amendments, reflecting experience gained since April 2005, are made in relation to the operation of the Pension Protection Fund.

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Explanatory Notes

Text created by the Northern Ireland Assembly department responsible for the subject matter of the Act to explain what the Act sets out to achieve and to make the Act accessible to readers who are not legally qualified. Explanatory Notes accompany all Acts of the Northern Ireland Assembly.


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