Webb said the new rules would come into effect for schemes staging after April 2015, but he added that the government would “flesh out the details” for those already staged.The Liberal Democrat MP said it would be irrational to focus on value for money for those that have staged to the detriment of those that have not.He also rebuffed claims from the government opposition that the decision to delay was a U-turn on policy.Labour spokesman for pensions, Gregg McClymont, recently said government ministers seemed to be in “full-scale retreat” on the charges debate after failing to act sooner.The government had been expected to impose a cap on the charge DC providers can place on auto-enrolment schemes by April this year.At the CBI conference, Webb said: “The principle of regulated quality is absolute. We have got to tackle charges, but do it at a rational schedule.”He further stressed that what the government would set out in 2015 would be a “complete package” of DC reforms.Neil Carberry, director for employment and skills at the CBI, welcomed the delay.He said the members of the lobby attempting to stage this year had voiced concerns over the lack of clarity in government policy. The UK pensions minister has confirmed that the charge cap on defined contribution (DC) auto-enrolment schemes will come into force a year later than expected.Speaking at the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) annual pensions conference, pensions minister Steve Webb said the recent consultation had forced the government decision.“There are number of aspects of DC scheme quality, and we consulted on a range of them,” Webb said. “In the consultation, there was a view that changing the rules at 12 weeks’ notice didn’t quite stack up. I think that is a fair comment. That’s why the changes we will make will be in 2015.”The consultation focused on aspects of auto-enrolment DC schemes including governance, transparency and a cap on charges.
By Ashraf DabieChristmas shopping in downtown Georgetown has now gotten even more hectic, as Parliament sessions for the deliberation of Budget 2018 gets underway.An atmosphere of chaos clouded the city for the past two days as these sessions kicked off on Monday, resulting in the displacement of several bus parks housed around the Stabroek Market area.Displaced commuters in Lombard StreetThis is as several main roadways in the vicinity of the Parliament Building have been closed off to civilian traffic, so as to make accommodations for easy access and the safety of the parliamentarians attending these sessions.Adding to that, almost all of the bus parks usually housed around the Stabroek Market Square and its environs were moved further up Lombard Street, forcing passengers to walk a fair distance to get to their buses.When Guyana Times visited downtown Georgetown on Tuesday, bus operators and commuters were outraged, contending that these changes are of major inconvenience.Commuters walking great distances to get busesA route 42 bus operator, William Gomes, while speaking to this publication indicated that these changes, despite being temporary, have posed a challenge to his means of earning an income.“It’s hard to get people to come into your bus. It’s like soliciting passenger and you gotta be hollering your throat out to get a passenger,” expressed the bus operator, who continued by saying, “It’s very hard for me to be doing this. I think they should do something better to avoid this (the displacement).”Acknowledging the significance of the Budget debates, he argued that better arrangements should be put in place for the man on the street.“At least if they can bring out a little more Police and get this thing organised the right way or leave we in the park. At least allow four or five buses to go in the park and load than putting everybody out here and then the people gotta walk till from so with big big bags. If you got a old grandmother, she gotta fetch a heavy bag to come here. For two weeks? That’s real unfair, they should do something,” an animated Gomes recommended.Expressing similar concerns was Ivelaw Cummings, another bus driver who was moved from the usual park to the temporary Lombard Street location.In doing so he stated, “At this time when they have conference session like this, they should not allow the canters and other vehicles to park here to be able to accommodate minibuses.”He further pointed out that, “All the buses here, we got (routes) 31, 42, 43 everybody within this area. So if they would move the private vehicles for this session, it would make us confortable. “Meanwhile, a great number of commuters complained that they were unaware of the changes and as such continue to face difficulties in locating buses plying the various routes.Amidst the confusion, persons were saying they will not return to town until after Budget sessions are through.Parliament convened on Monday last for the presentation of the 2018 Budget. This was followed by the debates which kicked off on Monday and are expect to last until Friday.These sessions are to run for an addition week during which the estimates will be taken into consideration.The displacement of the bus parks persist throughout this period.