Watch Webb clash with CA editor in Bill committee session

Pension minister Steve Webb and other MPs grilled Corporate Adviser editor John Greenwood over the new pension flexibilities in a combative session before the Pensions Scheme Bill Committee this afternoon. NB PARLIAMENT TV LINK DOES NOT WORK ON MOBILE PHONES

Webb questioned Greenwood’s suggestion that £20bn of tax revenue would be lost if everyone over 55 took full advantage of the new flexibilities to avoid NI and tax.

Pensions minister Steve Webb and CA editor John Greenwood
Pensions minister Steve Webb and CA editor John Greenwood

Webb’s questioning, which starts at 15.34.20 on the video, included probing questions about why employees are not using the £30,000 trivial commutation allowance to avoid tax this year.

He also questioned the £20bn figure, which Greenwood said he freely admitted was not 100 per cent accurate, saying he was not a research organisation, but he had asked bodies such as the Institute of Fiscal Studies to comment on the extent of the potential leakage, but they had been unprepared to comment on them. But the minister did not offer any figures of his own as to what the scale of the issue is.

Greenwood pointed to a survey conducted at the Corporate Adviser Summit earlier this month, which showed two thirds of the 39 senior DC consultants considered at least 10 per cent of the £20bn or so tax and NI that could be avoided in 2015/16 would be avoided.

To read Greenwood’s submission to the Pension Schemes Bill Committee, click here.