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Workplace Pensions: Automatic Enrolment

Oral Answers to Questions — Work and Pensions – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 11th July 2016.

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Photo of David Mowat David Mowat Conservative, Warrington South 12:00 am, 11th July 2016

What progress his Department has made on auto-enrolling people into workplace pensions.

Photo of Shailesh Vara Shailesh Vara The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

Automatic enrolment has been a great success with nearly 6.3 million people automatically enrolled into a workplace pension by almost 143,000 employers. We will continue with our programme to get many more people enrolled.

Photo of David Mowat David Mowat Conservative, Warrington South

Auto-enrolment has met or exceeded all initial targets. However, to maximise pensions in the long term, we need to bear down on charges. Two years ago, the Government put in place a cap of 0.75%, which is half that permitted by the Opposition when they had one for stakeholders. The Government said they would review the level of the cap, with a view to it being lower in future. Will the Minister update us on the status of that review?

Photo of Shailesh Vara Shailesh Vara The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

I am grateful to my hon. Friend for raising this very important issue. I can give him an assurance that, in 2017, we will review whether the level of the charge cap should change, and whether to include some or all transaction costs in the cap.

Photo of Andrew Gwynne Andrew Gwynne Labour, Denton and Reddish

The Minister will know that in September last year, in evidence to the Work and Pensions Committee, the Economic Secretary said that if there was not transparency and comparability in fees, the Government would legislate. Does he think there has been transparency? If not, when will he legislate?

Photo of Shailesh Vara Shailesh Vara The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

The hon. Gentleman raises a good point. We are committed to transparency and openness, and, when opportunity allows, to putting them into place in legislation.

Photo of Jeremy Quin Jeremy Quin Conservative, Horsham

I congratulate the Minister on the successful roll-out of auto-enrolment. What more could be done to help the self-employed to engage in the process?

Photo of Shailesh Vara Shailesh Vara The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

We are working very closely with the Pensions Regulator to ensure the whole programme of auto-enrolment is easily understood, in particular for self-employed people and those who have one or two employees, so that the rules are in very clear easy-to-use language on the website and in offline literature and any other offline facilities.