Oral Answers to Questions — Stakeholder Pensions

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 2 April 2001.

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Photo of Alistair Darling Alistair Darling Secretary of State for Social Security 12:00, 2 April 2001

I know that the right hon. Gentleman has been engaging in quite a lot of revisionism recently, but he really does have a brass neck to lecture us about the mis-selling of pensions. Let me answer his question on stakeholder pensions. First, he is wrong on a fundamental point: we have always said that people on low incomes earning about £10,000 or less would do better to go into the state second pension, which doubles—and, in some cases, trebles—the amount of money that they would have received under the state earnings-related pension scheme, which we have now reformed. So low earners ought to be in the state second pension. The stakeholder pension is designed for middle and higher earners, and he is right to say that those earning approximately between £10,000 and £22,000 a year will benefit from an enhanced rebate. But it is not only on the mis-selling of pensions that he is a little forgetful, because on 21 February this year, he gave an interview to the Financial Adviser and said: Stakeholder pensions should give savers more 'bang' for their buck.Savers should see less of their contributions absorbed by costs and more being invested in assets which, other things being equal, will mean higher pensions when they retire. He also said: I would be more than surprised if a future Tory government even contemplated abolishing stakeholder pensions.