Master Trust schemes: definition

Part of Pension Schemes Bill [Lords] – in a Public Bill Committee at 9:45 am on 7th February 2017.

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Photo of Richard Harrington Richard Harrington The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions 9:45 am, 7th February 2017

Have a little patience—I was going to say the hon. Member for Ross, Skye and Lochaber. Watford is much easier to pronounce, but I accept that he has a wonderful constituency that is very lucky to have him representing it. I have got it now.

The hon. Gentleman’s point was about why the review is different in timing and scope to the Bill. The main reason is statutory. We were obliged by statute to have the review in 2017, which means it cannot report until the end of 2017. In fact, 2017 is too early because we do not have enough figures to see people’s behaviour or habits since auto-enrolment came in. We are doing the review—it is being announced and will report—but we could not consider holding up this regulation until it came out.

I totally agree with my hon. Friend the Member for Amber Valley that self-employment really needs to be taken into consideration, because those people are predominantly the same as people who happen technically not to be self-employed; their requirements are just the same, although they are their own employer. At the moment that does not fit into the system, although I really hope that it will. I cannot be more specific than that, but we have that as one of the heads of the review and will look into it. I hope he will bear with me on that.

I can confirm that the definition of a master trust, as set out in the Bill, includes all schemes that have the characteristics set out in clause 1. That includes those with members who are self-employed in addition to members who are employed. My hon. Friend’s amendment is therefore not necessary, although that is not to say that it is spurious or badly intended. I hope that I have clarified that his points are covered in the Bill, and that the amendment is therefore not, I respectfully believe, necessary. With those assurances and clarifications, I ask the hon. Member for Stockton North to withdraw his amendment, and my hon. Friend the Member for Amber Valley not to press his.