Guy Opperman: Automatic enrolment is a cross-party success story, with more than 9.6 million workers enrolled in pensions saving and more than 1.2 million employers meeting their duties. Approximately 9,000 eligible jobholders have been automatically enrolled in my hon. Friend’s constituency, with 1,600 employers meeting their duties and supporting them.
Guy Opperman: My hon. Friend is right, and younger people agree with that. When NOW: Pensions carried out research, it found that only 4% of its 22 to 29-year-old members opted out. Our “Automatic enrolment review 2017” set out our plans to make saving the norm by lowering the age of automatic enrolment from 22 to 18. When an employee pays in, the employer pays in as well, and the Government...
Guy Opperman: Private pensions have been transformed by automatic enrolment, which is a social reform of which all Members should be proud. It involves behavioural economics and nudge theory. In my hon. Friend’s constituency, 30,000 eligible jobholders have been automatically enrolled and 2,310 employers have done their duties.
Guy Opperman: The pensions industry can and should make the most of the opportunity presented by FinTech. We believe that if it is to succeed, it will be vital for industry and Government to collaborate in the development of the pensions dashboard. As others countries have shown, pensions dashboards are a fantastic way of giving people access to pension information in a clear and simple form, bringing...
Guy Opperman: It is true that Windsor is the centre of the universe, and we should all congratulate Prince Harry and Meghan on their marriage at the weekend. It is also true that Windsor, and all parts of the United Kingdom, will benefit from the pensions dashboard. The internet has transformed travel, insurance and other businesses when they have gone online, and we believe that when the pensions...
Guy Opperman: The Government recognise that customers need value for money, but lowest cost does not always mean best value. By working with the Financial Conduct Authority, we believe price transparency for trustees can drive effective competition and allow asset managers who can add value to thrive.
Guy Opperman: The hon. Gentleman will be aware that the Financial Conduct Authority published the final rules in September 2017, and that independent governance committees on personal workplace pensions have had rules in force since January. On his discrete point, surely auto-enrolment, with 9.6 million people in this country signed up to it, and the enhanced state pension, which stands at over £1,250...
Guy Opperman: It was a Labour Government who created the Pensions Regulator in 2004, and I think we can all agree that there are lessons to be learned from Carillion and other recent high-profile cases. However, there are two options. We either try to discredit an organisation and run it down or—this is my choice—support the regulator, give it the further powers that we set out in detail in the...
Guy Opperman: I look forward to working with the hon. Gentleman as we steer the DB White Paper into legislation, but the legislation is looking at the future—it is not necessarily retrospective.
Guy Opperman: My hon. Friend is right to say that the state pension has been enhanced and increased; the new state pension has gone up to £164-plus. There is fantastically good news on auto-enrolment in her constituency, and I will write to her with the specific details.
Guy Opperman: I would be delighted to take up that specific example and will definitely take it forward. I remind my hon. Friend that 12,000 people have been auto-enrolled in his constituency.
Guy Opperman: It is true that women used to lag behind men in terms of workplace pensions, but at 73% their participation rates are now equal to those of men in the private sector. Thanks to auto-enrolment, 10,000 men and women in my hon. Friend’s constituency now have a private pension. Thanks are also due to the 1,670 employers assisting them.
Guy Opperman: indicated assent. The House forthwith resolved itself into the Legislative Grand Committee (England and Wales) ( Standing Order No. 83M). [Dame Rosie Winterton in the Chair]
Guy Opperman: There are no current plans to revisit the announced jobcentre provision in Glasgow. Doubtless the hon. Gentleman will welcome the 1,000 jobs a day created in this country since 2010 and the fact that the claimant count in his constituency has gone down by 50% since then.
Guy Opperman: I thank the hon. Gentleman for his question, and I will take it up with him after this debate; I will be delighted to sit down with him and be clear on that matter. The Minister for Employment is at the G7 in Canada, so he cannot answer that point, but we will take it up.
Guy Opperman: The Secretary of State, Treasury Ministers and I hold regular discussions on this topic as part of our work on the Financial Guidance and Claims Bill, which spans both Departments’ policy areas.
Guy Opperman: Pensions guidance is a vital part of the work that the Government are doing. We are committed to ensuring that people have access to the information and guidance that they need to make effective financial decisions. My hon. Friend will be aware that we are debating the Financial Guidance and Claims Bill in the House tomorrow. I urge him to come and listen to the positive developments in that Bill.
Guy Opperman: I will answer this question in detail tomorrow, when I have more time. Anyone considering transferring their pension should speak to the Pensions Advisory Service.
Guy Opperman: Yes, yes and Project Bloom, a City of London police operation to ensure that we stop scammers, has brought many prosecutions—pending and future.
Guy Opperman: Funding has been agreed for local authorities to implement universal support to help claimants with transition to universal credit. That partnership working is fundamental to the successful implementation of universal credit, which is of course part of the 1,000 jobs a day that we have seen under this Government since 2010.