Master Trust Schemes: Review of Participation

Part of Pension Schemes Bill [Lords] – in a Public Bill Committee at 3:00 pm on 9 February 2017.

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Photo of Richard Harrington Richard Harrington The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions 3:00, 9 February 2017

That is very reasonable. The hon. Gentleman’s general approach—and mine, I hope—has been not to bring party politics into the debate, because we all have exactly the same objectives.

I have one or two further points to make. The hon. Gentleman mentioned women being excluded from auto-enrolment—not by law but in practice—for different reasons. Actually, the number of women being enrolled is very impressive, although I do not have it to hand. I am pleased to say that I do not think that this is a gender equality issue.

The fundamental point is that the issues that the hon. Gentleman mentioned and that his new clause would address were mostly covered by the Secretary of State in yesterday’s announcement about the extent of the auto-enrolment review. That was not timed to happen just before this Committee sitting; it is just how things worked out. The review will look at the self-employed, who are excluded from the current system, which has gone from nought to a lot very quickly, after all. It will also look at people with multiple earnings under the £10,000 mark from different sources. Incidentally, people paid less than that—I cannot remember the exact figure, but it is just under £6,000—are allowed to enrol, and they get help from their employer and the tax system, although at that level they would not necessarily pay tax. All these things are being looked at. The review will be very comprehensive and will go far beyond what the statute calls for. I will be very pleased to look at its results.

The hon. Gentleman asked whether implementing the review’s recommendations would involve another pensions Bill, which he and Her Majesty have decided we will not be having in this Session. I cannot say, because I do not know what the recommendations are, but some things will need primary legislation and others will not.

Unless the hon. Gentleman has an urgent intervention to make, I will conclude. I have listened carefully to what he said and am glad to have included it all in my speeches, and I am glad that it will all be included in the review.