Autumn Statement  

DWP claims to listen to calls for less pension tinkering

DWP claims to listen to calls for less pension tinkering

David Bateman, policy manager at the Department for Work & Pensions, has defended the government's position on tinkering with pension policy.

Speaking today (29 November) at a Westminster Employment Forum in London on pensions policy in the UK, Mr Bateman said: "There have been calls for a slowdown (in pension policy changes). 

“The message has been heard although it may not feel like that."

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His comments came less than a week after the Autumn Statement saw chancellor Philip Hammond cut the money purchase annual allowance to £4,000 in April 2017, down from the current £10,000.

In his first Autumn Statement on 23 November, Mr Hammond also announced changes to the tax treatment of foreign pensions, and cuts to tax relief through salary sacrifice schemes.

Mr Bateman also said the DWP recognised the need to increase savers confidence in what they should do with their pension pots.

He added the DWP recognised there are issues about how people access advice and the shape and form a single guidance body.

It was in October that the government announced it will create a new, single body to offer guidance on debt, pensions and other financial matters.

It will bring together the functions of the Money Advice Service, The Pensions Advisory Service and Pension Wise into a single body.

Last year former chancellor George Osborne launched a consultation into the government’s guidance provision to create a more “joined-up approach”.

His comments came after several reports were critical of the Money Advice Service.

Mr Bateman said: "This will prompt a debate on what is guidance in this space and how it should blend into advice."

Mr Bateman added scams were an integral part of the conversation on confidence in the industry.

Last week, in the Autumn Statement the government confirmed it will ban pensions cold calling after a parliamentary petition launched by a financial adviser put the issue into the spotlight two months ago. 

The ban will stretch to the cold calling of people who have inadvertently opted in to receiving third party communications. Violation of the ban could attract fines of up to £500,000.

ruth.gillbe@ft.com