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Webb: No change to auto-enrolment

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Pensions minister Steve Webb says no businesses will be exempted from auto-enrolment whatever the recommendations of a report on regulation of the Labour market.

The Beecroft report was commissioned to assess the impact of regulation on business but has not yet been published. Roll-out of auto-enrolment is due to begin with the largest firms in 2012.

Earlier this month, Money Marketing reported ministers are considering extending the automatic-enrolment phasing-in period for small firms due to concerns about their growth prospects.

At Work and Pensions questions in the House of Commons this afternoon, recently promoted shadow pensions minister Greg McClymont asked Webb whether the Government would look to modify the scheme if some businesses were exempted from auto-enrolment.

Webb said: “I can assure him that 2012 goes ahead as planned.”

The details of the Beecroft report are not know but, writing on his blog, Labour MP Michael Meacher says leaks indicate it will propose the “virtual phasing out” of employment rights.

He writes: “Hardly anyone has heard of the Beecroft report which went to ministers several weeks ago, and that is because it is so rabidly right-wing that David Cameron and Oliver Letwin refuse to disclose it.”

Webb was also asked about what the Government had done to ensure people working with firms for periods of less than three months are not excluded from the reform.

Webb said: “We have to strike the right balance to avoid unnecessary bureaucracy, but those with a firm for more than three months will be in the scope of auto-enrolment and those working for a shorter period will still be free to opt-in and trigger a contribution.”

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  1. What a shame that all this man is thinking about is his legacy. We will have forgotten who he is and certainly what he stands for.

    A poorly thought out policy introduced by a Labour Government racked by internal politics, carried through to certain failure by a Lib Dem politician getting 15 minutes of fame, under the banner of a coalition government.

    We all know something has to be done, but please exclude all those earning below £13k, and all small companies ie fewer than 5 employees.

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