The Minister, in a private conversation, said that I would find it difficult to mention this subject, but he has kindly given me an opening. We have to learn lessons from the experience of the WASPI women—the Women Against State Pension Inequality Campaign—and we cannot go forward and experience the same inability to engage as we are experiencing now, so this scheme must ensure that communication is sufficient to attract all people.
Richard Harrington (The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Pensions)
I smile, but not out of disrespect for the hon. Lady—quite the contrary. I knew that she would manage to bring in her favourite subject and I am grateful for the indulgence of the Chair in not declaring it out of scope, because she makes a relevant point. I nearly said “you”, Mr Rosindell. You would probably make it as well, if you were invited to speak on the subject.
The communication point that the hon. Lady raises has to do with the state pension. Generally, things have moved on dramatically—not just from a regulatory point of view, but with communication generally. We just have to look at the state pension side—before you rule us out of scope, Mr Rosindell. Millions of people look on the internet every year to see what the position is with their state pension. The same will apply—to bring us within scope—to private pensions. The younger generation of people do not just wait for something to come. They are aware the whole time; they see the information on their pay packet. My younger son started work after graduation in September. They sign up for the pension, it is explained and they are interested. They think it is years away, obviously, but they are interested. That is why I do not take the communication point lightly, and I will do my best now to talk in more detail about it.
We have mentioned the automatic enrolment review. That is critical—this is not just a way of sidetracking the point—because it will consider how individuals engage with their workplace pension scheme and how that can be developed so that members are better able to understand and maximise their savings. That is probably the most relevant change that we have to try to bring about—we as a Government are going to do this, but I am sure that any Government would—to get people really involved. We have appointed an external advisory board, including members that represent consumer interests as well as pension provider representation. We will lay a report before Parliament before the end of 2017. The relevant point, to bring us back to the Bill—you have been very patient, Mr Rosindell—is that it will take into account these findings. We will take them into account when considering the regulations under clause 12—that is the relevant clause—which I referred to a moment ago.
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