HC Deb 01 July 2002 vol 388 cc19-20
13. Mr. Parmjit Dhanda (Gloucester)

What action he is taking to promote pension take-up among voluntary sector workers. [63397]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (Maria Eagle)

The Government are committed to ensuring that everybody gets a decent income in retirement and to promoting pension provision among all groups of workers, including those in the voluntary sector

Mr. Dhanda

I thank my hon. Friend for that reply. Is she aware that, when groups in the voluntary sector bid for extra funds for local campaigns, as is the case in my constituency of Gloucester, they sometimes find that, although the money can be used to help to employ extra staff, local campaigners or case workers, it is difficult to make up the employers contribution? However, if such groups put in an extra bid in the first instance to make up that money, the Government can help them. Therefore, will her Department do more to emphasise the fact that such groups can be supported if they make it clear that they wish money for such contributions to be part of their bid?

Maria Eagle

Good employers who want to get good staff will make proper pension provision a part of the package that they offer. Following the introduction of stakeholder pensions, many voluntary sector employers will have to designate stakeholders and therefore offer their employees a low-cost excellent new vehicle to ensure that they can save for their retirement.

In terms of awareness raising, it is crucial that the Government and others get across to employees and employers the importance of saving for retirement. In that regard we have high hopes that the new combined pension forecasting will enable employees and employers to see just what kind of pensions they are likely to retire on. It may well also provide a boost to ensure that people save more for their retirement.

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