Former Pensions Minister Speak Out On Auto Enrolment

9 November 2017

Sir Steve Webb speaks out on auto enrolment Speaking at the Personal Finance Society's Festival of Financial Planning in Birmingham, the former pensions minister Sir Steve Webb said that the big challenge for his successors should be addressing the level of contributions to auto enrolment pension schemes.

Sir Steve said: "The defined benefit tide is going out but the defined contribution cavalry has not come over the hill yet."

"What I am not in favour of is older people in the workforce who don't want to be there, who hate getting up in the morning and whose employers want to get rid of them but who are stuck there because they cannot afford to retire."

"If we don't start getting serious about this we will see a whole decade of inactivity. We have got to go beyond 8 per cent and use all the behavioural insights we have seen before."

Sir Steve gave the example of the 17 year period between when auto enrolment was first produced and when its roll-out will be complete in 2019 to show how policies can be hit with delays.

Another former pensions minister, Baroness Ros Altmann also echoed their concerns at the conference. She said that she was worried about the lack of legislative activity thanks to Brexit taking up so much parliamentary time. She explained her eagerness to attach amendments to the recent Financial Guidance and Claims Bill which introduces the replacement body to the Money Advice Service.

"Unfortunately the fear is the Brexit challenges will prevent a be a major stumbling block to getting any meaningful legislation through Parliament. Which is why a lot of us are so exercised to get anything into the Financial Guidance Bill because there is no other bill on the horizon."

Another issue that the two former pensions minister agreed upon was the need for the role of pensions minister to be reformed, however, they disagree upon just how. Whilst Baroness Altmann favours a single pensions minister in the Treasury, Sir Steve Webb favours a savings minster in the Treasury with a minister for the state pension in the Department for Work and Pensions.

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    • Sp avatar Josh Pedlar

      Josh is a Business Development Manager at Smart Pension.