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Willetts wants delay to stakeholder deadline

Conservative Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary David Willetts is calling on the Government to delay the October deadline for companies to offer access to stakeholder.

Willetts says the deadline should be pushed back six months to give companies time to come to terms with the changes required.

He says it is not fair of the Government to threaten companies with fines of up to£50,000 if they do not comply with the October deadline and that to insist they meet this arbitrary deadline will cause chaos and confusion.

The call from Willetts comes as the industry has voiced its concern that Opra, the body responsible for regulating existing stakeholder schemes, does not have the manpower or the will to enforce the October deadline.

Willetts has criticised the Government for forcing companies to act as unpaid tax collectors by having to administer initiatives such as stakeholder and the working families tax credit. However, the Tories have claimed in the past that they would not scrap stakeholder if they were elected.

Willetts says: “Stakeholder providers are finding it impossible to match the October deadline and all the time the Government is threatening fines of up to£50,000 to companies that do not meet all the requirements. I am calling on ministers to delay the October deadline until small firms are able to implement the changes without causing chaos and confusion.”

Clerical Medical pensions strategy manager Nigel Stammers says: “I doubt that Opra will embark on a witch-hunt on October 9. I think that it will be at least another six months before it starts to get tough.”

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