§ Mr. Sarwar
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will make a statement on take-up of stakeholder pensions. 
§ Malcolm Wicks
Almost 1.4 million have been sold in their first two years on the market.
Stakeholder pensions impact on pension provision goes wider than its take-up. Charges on personal pensions have fallen by around a quarter since 1999 to around stakeholder pensions' 1 per cent. a year level. In addition, as an alternative to offering their staff access to a stakeholder pension scheme, some employers have widened access to their occupational pension schemes and others have set up group personal pension plans with an employer contribution. We recognise that more needs to be done to improve take-up of private pensions in general, including stakeholder pensions.
That is why we have set up an employer task force to develop and promote the employers' role in pension provision; established an independent pensions commission to report regularly to the Secretary of State on how the current voluntary approach to private pension provision is working; are developing an information pack for employers to make it clearer and easier for them to promote the benefits of their pension schemes; are framing initiatives to test the provision of advice and information at the workplace on saving for retirement; and have provided that members of money-purchase pension schemes receive annual illustrations, in today's prices, of what pension they might receive when they retire.
Research by the Association of British Insurers shows that where an employer contributes to a stakeholder pension scheme take-up by employees is greatly increased.