Pension Dashboard  

DWP denies pulling plug on pensions dashboard

DWP denies pulling plug on pensions dashboard

The Department for Work and Pensions, which is overseeing the pensions dashboard project, has said reports in The Times newspaper that the project would be scrapped are pure "speculation".

The department said work on the dashboard is continuing, despite reports that secretary of state Esther McVey, who was appointed in January, has moved to kill off the project, saying the service should not be provided by the state.

A DWP spokesperson said the feasibility study was proceeding and that the report amounted to no more than "speculation and rumour".

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Despite the assurance that work on the dashboard is continuing, further speculation about the project’s future is of great concern.

It is still slated to be introduced next year, even though there are no firm details about how it will work and who will serve as the gatekeeper, with the DWP repeatedly having missed the deadline to publish its feasibility study.

Tom Selby, senior analyst at AJ Bell, said: “This latest twist in the tale is hugely frustrating for the industry, not least as it is the industry that has ploughed in all the time, money and effort.

"And now it seems that the government are considering scrapping the whole project or at least kicking the can down the road.

"It’s a crazy situation. People need to know what pensions they have, and between the ABI and the industry, a solution could still be on the cards."

Helen Morrissey, pension specialist at Royal London, appeared equally perturbed by the speculation about the pension dashboard.

She said: "Even the suggestion that the work and pensions secretary could pull the plug on the pension dashboard project is extremely disappointing.

"The dashboard has the ability to boost engagement with retirement planning and to abandon the project now risks letting down millions of savers."

"What is all the more puzzling is that this is a policy that has received support from Treasury while pensions minister Guy Opperman has repeatedly said the dashboard will happen and urged the industry to back the project."

Kate Smith, head of pensions at Aegon, said ditching the dashboard at this point made little sense and will ultimately make people’s retirement planning harder.

She said: "Auto-enrolment means that every job comes with a pension and keeping track of multiple pensions has proved difficult for many people.

"Having a single source of pensions data, that tells people what they can expect from both the state and their private pensions should significantly boost people’s engagement and lead to better decision making, and less reliance on the state."

"With the government’s ban on cold calling delayed, this could prove to be yet another blow for the nation’s savers."

It had emerged last week that the ban on pension cold calling will not happen anytime soon, and that the government plans to launch a consultation on the matter instead.