HC Deb 04 March 2002 vol 381 cc22-3W
35. Patrick Mercer

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what proportion of stakeholder pensions have been purchased by his Department's target group. [36361]

Mr. McCartney

The information is not yet available, however, figures from the Association of British Insurers (ABI) state that around 640,000 stakeholder pensions had been sold up the end of December 2001 representing over £1 billion of new pension premiums. Over 310,000 employers had designated a stakeholder scheme for their workforce by that date; a compliance rate of about 80 per cent. achieved within three months of the requirement coming into force.

Stakeholder pensions have also helped to stimulate the wider pensions market. In 2001, new regular premium pensions business rose by 52.5 per cent. over the preceding year to a total of £2.4 billion. Over the same period, single premium pension business rose by 2.7 per cent. to just over £50 billion.

The aim of our long-term pension reforms is to give everyone access to a good value pension arrangement, so that they have the chance of a decent income in retirement. Stakeholder pensions are part of those reforms. Targets for a particular type of pension are not appropriate. The suitability of a stakeholder pension for any individual is a matter for them to decide in the light of their particular circumstances.