Vital that nobody is left behind on pensions

Last month in the UK we passed a critical milestone of the millionth business signing up to auto enrolled pensions scheme, which was launched to ensure that workers were automatically opted in to a workplace pension and benefitting from employer contributions. I marked this milestone by tabling a debate on the issue, celebrating its success.

More than 1,000 employers have signed up to pension auto enrolment here in Chippenham constituency, with an additional 9,000 constituents now saving for a secure and better-funded retirement than before the changes were made.

I called for the Government to continue to overhaul the way people pay into pensions, with particular focus needed to support the self-employed and provide them with the same support given to other types of workers.

With the number of self-employed people growing year on year, it is vital that no one is left behind and I was delighted to outline my own proposal to tackle this issue. The Minister assured me that plans are in place to review auto enrolment for the self-employed and I will continue to fight hard for these changes to protect the thousands of self-employed people who live and work across Wiltshire.

I was able to speak in Parliament welcoming the announcement that £40,000 bursaries will be made available to veterans for them to re-train as teachers. With a significant number of serving and veteran families here in my constituency I know the challenges which are faced by those leaving the forces in finding employment, this despite the invaluable skills they offer to society.

I have been passionate about the need to tackle the STEM skills shortage, both locally and nationally, and with these bursaries focusing on priority subjects I believe this is not only a fantastic way of supporting our military families but also a means to ensuring we have the right skills in place across the UK. Those who serve our country have already given so much and I feel it only right that we repay this with appropriate support as people adjust back to civilian life.

I am running a number of open drop-in surgeries in both March and April across the constituency with no appointment necessary and I would welcome the opportunity to discuss with you any concerns, issues or thoughts you may have. Locations will be in Chippenham, Melksham, Broughton Gifford and Staverton with additional locations to be added.

Please email me on michelle.donelan.mp@parliament.uk or call 01249 704465 if you would like more information or if you would like to meet with me privately to discuss any other matters.