Clause 53

Part of Pensions Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 3:15 pm on 31st January 2008.

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Photo of Nigel Waterson Nigel Waterson Shadow Minister, Work & Pensions 3:15 pm, 31st January 2008

I am not wholly convinced. In one breath, the Minister talks about giving people certainty and swearing undying loyalty to the figure of £3,600 at 2005 levels. He then talks about the need for flexibility. He cannot have it both ways because there are bodies out there like the ABI which represents great swathes of the industry and is nervous about the lack of reference in the Bill and in the explanatory notes to £3,600.

I will not press the amendment to a division on this occasion, but the Minister needs to go away and think about this a bit harder because it is clear from the evidence that there are real concerns that this is a figure into which there might be some flexibility—to use the Minister’s word—built.

I also take up the point made by the hon. Member for Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey, when he says that some of the things he is proposing are not bells and whistles. I suppose that one man’s bells and whistles are another man’s something else. We have to be guided, apart from any other arguments, by the pleas of those—like Mr. Jones—who are going to have to try to make all this work; we need to keep it simple. We can always add complexity later on, once it is working properly. On that basis, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.