Let's make Britain the best country in the world in which to grow old, says the pensions ministerby Guy Opperman / March 1, 2019 / Leave a comment
Published in April 2019 issue of Prospect Magazine
We’re preparing for a pensions bill when parliamentary time allows, says Opperman. Photo: Joe Giddens/PA Wire/PA Images Our ambitious programme of reforms has set millions of people on the road to the financially secure retirements that they want, with the new state pension— simpler and easier to understand—providing a foundation for people to build on with their private pension pots. All of us need to think about starting to save or saving more for later life. We’re living and staying healthy for longer. By 2034 there will be more than double the number of people aged 100 and above than there are today. Automatic enrolment is revolutionising private saving. More than 10m people have started saving—or saving more—in workplace pensions since 2012, with more women and young people saving for retirement. We have also paved the way for the introduction of a new type of pension—Collective Defined Contribution—with benefits for workers and employers alike. However, we can all do more—the pensions and financial services sectors as well as the government—to make sure that people understand the benefits of saving, and engage more fully with their pension planning. To make it easier for people to see what their current and potential savings look like, we must give them the tools they need. Not just simpler, clearer paperwork and statements, but user-friendly digital services too. I have unveiled our vision for “pensions dashboards” that will give users secure information about all of their pension savings at the touch of a smartphone or tablet screen. These will let people see all the relevant information in one clear place online. The first dashboard should be available later this year. We have created the Single Financial Guidance Body, bringing together the resources currently delivered by the Money Advice Service, the Pensions Advisory Service and Pension Wise, so that people have a streamlined service to call on when they have queries about pensions and money. Finally, I’m determined to do everything I can to keep safe the pensions that people have worked long and hard for. “More than 10m people have started saving—or saving more—in workplace pensions since 2012” We will get tougher on company bosses who recklessly put workers’ pensions at risk. They could soon face up to seven years in prison or unlimited fines, after the government announced its intention to make wilful or reckless behaviour in relation to pension schemes a criminal offence. Project Bloom, a taskforce including the government, the police, the Financial Conduct Authority, the Pensions Regulator and other bodies from the pensions sector is detecting and preventing scams, finding new ways to stop pension thieves in their tracks. Looking at what is to come, we’re preparing for a Pensions Bill as soon as parliamentary time allows. We will continue to strive to make Britain the best country in the world in which to grow old.