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

We are moving into another important part of the Bill. Clause 61 deals with the functions of PADA. I am grateful to hon. Members for introducing their amendments and for giving me the chance, I hope, to reassure them on the points that they have raised. I understand why they raised them.

The clause sets out the scope of the authority’s functions, allowing it to continue to advise on policy but also to undertake the detailed implementation work necessary to establish the personal accounts scheme and to support the regulator in establishing the processes to maximise employer compliance with the  new duties. The amendments would prevent the authority from undertaking some, or all, of the second part of that role, but it is absolutely important that it does, for reasons which I shall try to set out.

The Bill introduces an obligation on employers to enrol eligible workers into a workplace pension and to make contributions to it. We could not introduce such a duty on employers without also having an effective compliance regime—the two go hand in hand. Otherwise, there would be no way of ensuring that more workers have the opportunity to benefit from the reforms, nor of ensuring that employers comply with the law and do not in any way disadvantage their work force.