Clause 61

Part of Pensions Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 12:30 pm on 5th February 2008.

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Photo of James Plaskitt James Plaskitt Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department for Work and Pensions 12:30 pm, 5th February 2008

It is a key document, and the hon. Gentleman is right to describe it as such. I cannot tell him precisely when it will be available. It will be available for study in the Library of the House in plenty of time before the scheme is up and running. I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for clarifying amendment No. 105, which seeks to exclude the authority from even giving advice and assistance on clauses pertaining to qualifying schemes.

Let me try to reassure the hon. Gentleman that there will be no conflict of interest here. While the authority will be able to advise the Secretary of State on setting the criteria for qualifying schemes, there will be no role beyond that. Any body or stakeholder that the Government consult when drawing up the regulations will have no additional role. It will be for the Secretary of State to satisfy himself that the regulations achieve the appropriate policy outcomes and to ensure that the criteria continue to support all good quality provision. In due course, it will be for the House to pass those precise regulations.

Moreover, excluding the authority from providing support to the regulator, under clauses 14 to 24, as the amendments seek to do, could, in fact, lead to a confused and fragmented approach. That is another kind of problem that I am sure the hon. Member for Rochdale would want us to avoid. It would be very difficult for the authority to offer constructive support on the compliance process without regard to the spectrum of schemes that could fulfil those duties.

In summary, robust Government arrangements will ensure that the regulator will be responsible for questions of design in the compliance regime and the authority will be restricted to supporting delivery. With those reassurances, I hope that the hon. Gentleman will agree to withdraw his amendment.