Clause 44 - Commencement

Part of Pension Schemes Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 10:00 am on 4th November 2014.

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Photo of Gregg McClymont Gregg McClymont Shadow Minister (Work and Pensions) 10:00 am, 4th November 2014

To be honest, I think the hon. Gentleman is being rather unfair. Auto-enrolment emerged from the Turner commission, which was a successful example of evidence-based analysis by an independent body. The previous Government legislated for auto-enrolment. If he wants me to congratulate the Government on implementing it, I am happy to do so. Surely, a sensible, balanced and fair approach would be to say that one Government put the framework in place and, following a general election at which that Government were ejected from office, the subsequent Government took it on.

Although this is not for this Committee, many other things happened in pensions policy under the previous Government, not least something that I always try to mention when challenged by opponents: the remarkable differences that pension credit made to the poorest pensioners. Some £75 billion has been redistributed to the poorest pensioners so far. I see that Mr Bone is getting antsy, so I will move off that subject, having been beguiled by the hon. Member for Gloucester to go off my main point. I have put on record the fact that the importance of pension credit for the poorest pensioners in this country, who suffered most when the previous Conservative Government abolished the earnings link, should never be forgotten.

Back to the issues at hand: how is consistency of provision to be maintained between these providers and platforms? That is an obvious question. In the evidence sessions, I, and the hon. Member for Gloucester or another Government Member, asked at least one of the representatives of the guidance providers whether there would be an IT system for the sharing of information. How will the Government ensure that capacity is not  stretched further by the same individual going to different guidance providers? The Government have not yet addressed that obvious and basic point.