Clause 49

Part of Pensions Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 10:00 am on 31st January 2008.

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Photo of Andrew Selous Andrew Selous Shadow Minister (Work and Pensions) 10:00 am, 31st January 2008

I just want to challenge the Minister’s logic. He said that the regulator would be able to go to the employer and say that people are not auto-enrolled but the employer can at that point say, “My employees have taken themselves out. They said they do not want to be auto-enrolled.” As for this private bung of £500,000 or whatever it was, the employer has probably said to the employee, “You keep this quiet, my lad. We do not want this getting out, do we? You have a nice extra bit in your pay packet, a couple of fivers in a brown envelope late one Friday evening.” How is anyone going to know? I understand what the Minister is saying but I think there is a slight flaw in his logic.

I do not want to criminalise any employers but from a competitive point of view, speaking as someone very pro-business, I want a level playing field. I want decent employers not to be undermined. Remember, we are talking about 3 per cent. of payroll costs, which could be quite significant. I would argue that the Minister is being slightly anti-competitive because he could be allowing this practice which he said he does not want. My point is that he is not going to know it is going on just by seeing people are not auto-enrolled. I think this would be useful.