The announcement (http://www.dwp.gov.uk/pensionsreform/latest_news.asp) outlines various changes which will make it easier for the Regulator to impose a contribution notice or financial support direction. The main proposed changes are as follows:
- The Regulator will be able to issue a contribution notice where the effect of an act is materially detrimental to a scheme's ability to pay benefits. The Regulator will no longer have to consider whether an act was motivated by an intention to avoid a s75 debt.
- There will no longer be a "good faith" defence where an employer has taken action to prevent a debt from arising. On the face of it, the Regulator might potentially be able to impose a contribution notice even if the employer's intentions were fair and honourable.
The changes require primary legislation. The Government acknowledges that the Regulator's new powers "must be defined carefully" and will issue a consultation document shortly.