Clause 5

Part of Pensions Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 5:00 pm on 22nd January 2008.

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Photo of Andrew Selous Andrew Selous Shadow Minister (Work and Pensions) 5:00 pm, 22nd January 2008

I agree with the hon. Member for Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey that our amendment No. 15 is similar to amendment No. 80. He said that his amendment was inspired by the Engineering Employers Federation. Ours has also been in part inspired by what it had to say. I note that the recommendation of the Work and Pensions Committee to the Government was that they should adopt this recommendation that re-enrolment should take place for all employees en masse at the end of the tax year in order to reduce the administrative burden on employers.

I am pleased to note that the Government in their response to the report said at paragraph 130:

“We have been working closely with employers and their representative organisations to design a scheme that minimises the burdens on business.”

I am sure we are all keen to support that. At the moment, employers would have to track the start date and 22nd birthday of all their employees at three year points from all those dates. Instead of having all the dates flagged up on a computer, with letters going out  to everyone and re-enrolling everyone in one go, and instead of it being a simple one-hit task that is done once a year, it will be a monthly problem for employers.

Again, I make no apology for repeating that we are bringing the world of pensions and contributions to some very small businesses. The Minister mentioned a garage earlier. Think of the small hairdresser or the very small sandwich bar with one or two employees. Those are not organisations that have large personnel and compliance departments that can make sure that this is done easily. If the Minister does not like amendments Nos. 15 or 80, I hope he will have something pretty convincing to say to the Committee about how he will make this work simply and effectively and with the least hassle.