§ Mr. Jim Cunningham
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will make a statement on the Stakeholder Pension; and how much this will add to the total value of a pension. 
§ Mr. McCartney
As set out in our 1998 Green Paper "Partnership in Pensions" the Government's long-term pension reforms are designed to ensure that all pensioners have a decent income in retirement, building on the foundation of the basic state pension available to all. This means everyone recognising their responsibilities; with those who are able, saving for their retirement, the Government supporting those who cannot save, and the private sector providing affordable and secure second pensions.808W
Before April 2001, many of those who could put money aside to provide for themselves in retirement had no straightforward, good value way to enter a pension scheme. Stakeholder pensions, which were introduced from that date, offered such people a good value, flexible product. Annual charges are capped at 1 per cent. of the fund's value, meaning more of what people pay in goes towards their pension. There are no additional charges for stopping and starting payments or transferring between stakeholder schemes. They are widely available but are particularly aimed at moderate to higher earners who do not already have access to an occupational pension or a good personal pension with an employer contribution. Stakeholder pensions are an important part of the framework this Government have now put in place to give everyone access to a good value pension arrangement and a decent income in retirement.
The added value of a stakeholder pension will vary according to the charging structure of the particular scheme, the investment returns achieved and the individual's pattern of payments.