A Stakeholder pension is a form of low cost personal pension which was aimed at encouraging those people who do not currently have pension provision to save for their retirement. They became available on 6th April 2001. They are not a form of state pension and are very similar in concept to Personal Pensions.
The requirement for an employer to offer a stakeholder pension was removed with the introduction of Auto Enrolment to avoid Employers being subject to overlapping rules.
Prior to the introduction of Auto Enrolment in 2012, employers with 5 or more employees had an obligation to provide their employees with access to a stakeholder pension scheme from 8th October 2001, although there was no compulsion for the employer to contribute or the employee to join the plan.
Stakeholder pension plans operate within a framework laid down by the Government and whilst they still exist, they have been largely supplanted by the new Auto Enrolment legislation introduced in 2012 (see Company Schemes and Auto Enrolment).