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 Nigel Mills Nigel Mills Conservative, Amber Valley 9:45 am, 7th February 2017

I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman, and I can see the attraction of that. Given that we have effectively auto-enrolled millions of people into master trusts, I am not sure I would support a delay in the regulations coming into effect. We need the powers in the Bill available to ensure that the people we have strongly encouraged into the schemes have all the protections we think they ought to have. I suspect that the review of auto-enrolment will be long, and in some ways it will probably be difficult to work out the right balance to strike in increasing the level of savings without encouraging people to leave the schemes completely. I am not sure that waiting for a resolution of that issue would be a sensible idea.

May I raise another technical point about when a master trust scheme ends up with a large proportion of self-employed members, up to 10%, 20% or whatever percentage of the scheme? Will it have to change its regulatory position and move from being an occupational pension scheme to a personal pension scheme or some other sort? I accept that there is a lot of regulation of such schemes, which may not be the end of the world, but perhaps the Minister will set out how the Government are tackling the big self-employed pension gap, where many fewer people save much smaller amounts and end up with much smaller pension pots as they approach retirement. As our employment markets change, that will be a significant challenge for us as we try to make pensions effective for everyone in the country. I look forward to the Minister’s remarks.