Surely the Minister understands that everyone knows that the Government's response to the Crisis in the Pensions Industry has been woefully inadequate.
The debate takes place against a background of Crisis in the Pensions Industry.
In that sense I believe that there is a Crisis in the Pensions Industry.
Stakeholder pensions are a flop and the Government have presided over a Crisis in the Pensions Industry.
My Lords, I, too, thank my noble friend Lord Fowler for drawing attention to the Crisis in the Pensions Industry with such clarity and power.
From the official Opposition, I have the support of my right hon. and learned Friend the shadow Chancellor, my hon. Friend the shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions and my hon. Friendthe Member for Wealden (Mr. Hendry), who leads on issues relating to young people: the very people who will be most directly affected by the continuing Crisis in the Pensions Industry.
As most people apart from the Government know, there is a Crisis in the Pensions Industry and in the pensions community.
They could seemingly take that money without much effect, but after the downturn in the stock market, that compounded the Crisis in the Pensions Industry, and we are still reeling from the effect of that today.
We concluded that there was not a Crisis in the Pension Industry as a whole, but that there certainly was a crisis of confidence.
We have reached a stage of Crisis in the Pensions Industry, since the moment the Chancellor introduced his change to advance corporation tax, which took £5 billion away from pension funds, and triggered with the advent of FRs 17, the accounting standard, which made the implications clear.
He taxed pension funds some £5 billion a year - I expect that he would maintain that it is £3 billion net - in his first Budget in 1997, and that has led indirectly, and together with other factors, such as increased longevity and the weakness of the stock exchange, to the closure of final salary schemes and the Crisis in the Pensions Industry.