The consideration of this clause gives us an opportunity to ask for the Minister’s reflections on a point relating to the objectives of the Pensions Regulator. Obviously, the regulator’s involvement with personal accounts has been widely welcomed, not just in this Committee and the House, but by stakeholder groups. The clause inserts a new objective for the Pensions Regulator to maximise compliance with the duties set out in chapter 1 of the Bill, which makes a great deal of sense. The Pensions Regulator has a very high reputation. It has been seen to carry out its present functions very successfully, and those whom it regulates have a great deal of confidence in it.
The only misgiving of any sort that has been expressed to me—by industry groups, for example—relates to the role of the regulator with regard to its new objective. Will the new objective in any way distract from the regulator’s existing objectives? Clearly, Liberal Democrat Members would not want that to be the case—nor, I am sure, would the Minister. The Pensions Regulator should be able to carry out its existing functions and objectives unimpeded by the new objective.
Will the Minister assure me that appropriate additional resources will be made available to the regulator to enable it to carry out the duties that it will have under the new objective in such a way that it will not have to wind down or squeeze its existing functions to make more resources available to carry out the duties described in the Bill? I hope that I know what the Minister will say, but it is important that such questions are answered on record to ensure that confidence is maintained.