The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is to consult on handing The Pensions Regulator (TPR) a statutory objective to consider the effect of recovery plans on sponsoring employers.
The government has announced the consultation in the Autumn Statement, which states: 'The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) will consult on providing The Pensions Regulator with a new statutory objective to consider the long-term affordability of deficit recovery plans to sponsoring employers.'
It said the objective would help to ensure 'that deﬁned beneﬁt pensions regulation does not act as a brake on investment and growth'.
The DWP will also consult on whether to allow companies undergoing valuation next year or later to 'smooth asset and liability values', with the government saying it recognised that volatility in deficits could make it hard for companies to manage their investment plans and gain external funding.
TPR chairman Michael O'Higgins said: 'We regulate according to the legislative framework set by government and Parliament, and it is for them to decide if the balance of that framework should change.'
He added: 'We welcome the wider debate that a transparent consultation will bring to these fundamental issues, the outcomes of which will need to be clearly understood and worked through. Whatever the outcome of the consultation, trustees will need to continue to act according to their fiduciary duties.'