With three years to go, the National Audit Office's statistics on auto enrolment make surprising, and interesting reading…
£1 billion - the amount of money the government has budgeted to spend on implementing auto enrolment up to 2018.
The government is backing auto enrolment big time. Whilst £1 billion may sound like an extraordinary amount of money to invest in a single project, the projected savings should dwarf this. With people not saving enough for retirement, the UK was facing a pensions crisis, with an ageing population and not enough money to pay for a comfortable state pension. Auto enrolment has already seen many more people saving for retirement and more and more will join them as it is rolled out.
3.8 million out of 5.4 million workers auto enrolled are expected to keep saving towards their retirement in the long term.
That's 3.8 million people who are now saving every month towards their retirement which is an amazing figure and one that will alleviate a huge strain on the benefits system in the years to come. Without auto enrolment, these people would have been relying on a state pension which would not have led them to having a comfortable retirement, and could even leave them in abject poverty.
50% of the employers who are yet to go through the auto enrolment process have only one or two employees. This will include people who employ a nanny or a carer.
One of the peculiarities of the auto enrolment scheme in many people's eyes is that families who employ a nanny or people who employ a carer are classed as employers. However, not doing so would have discriminated against professions such as carers and nannies which is why the decision to include them was made.
Similar schemes in the USA and New Zealand have seen opt-out rates of 15% and 21% respectively. The UK's auto enrolment opt-out rates currently stand at 10% and the DWP expects them not to exceed 15% by 2018.
The opt-out rates in the UK have been a surprising shock, with the DWP initially expecting a 28% opt-out, now revised to not topping 15% by 2018. This validates the government's faith in auto enrolment and justifies the expected £1 billion spend.