Short title and commencement

Part of Savings (Government Contributions) Bill – in a Public Bill Committee am 9:25 am ar 1 Tachwedd 2016.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Jane Ellison Jane Ellison The Financial Secretary to the Treasury 9:25, 1 Tachwedd 2016

I do not disagree that commissions can be useful; of course they can. A very good example has been cited. Neither am I arguing that we should not review things and seek, where we can with long-term things such as this, to get a degree of cross-party consensus. I referred to the review we have committed to on automatic enrolment. I am simply making the point that that debate is not relevant to the Bill. Delaying Help to Save for a year would mean people on low incomes missing out on the chance to save up to £600 in a Help to Save account and, of course, to benefit from a Government bonus.

As I say, we are debating two slightly separate issues. I think we all agree that these sorts of commissions and profound examinations of big issues often give rise to important things that achieve a degree of consensus, enabling us to move forward. However, that is not a relevant reason to delay the Bill, and that is why I reject the amendment. We heard in the evidence from StepChange that having £1,000 of rainy-day savings reduces the chance of falling into problem debt by 44%. Help to Save is a product that we have to get on with and not delay further.

I stress that we take an open approach to making pensions and savings policy and that we have approached these policies in an open and transparent way, as I have said. We will consult on the new financial guidance body later this year and, during the course of that consultation, there might well be a relevant moment to come back to some of the wider issues such as how we help individuals to make the right decisions for them. I have mentioned the automatic enrolment review, which will take place next year.

Those are better vehicles through which to have the debate we have just had and to get across some of the points that have been made, not all of which we would necessarily contest. I reject the amendment simply because it is not particularly relevant to the Bill. There is no need to delay the introduction of these two important schemes to establish a further commission.