Pension Dashboard  

Government denies providers to blame for dashboard delays

Government denies providers to blame for dashboard delays

The government has denied issues with legacy data has delayed the creation of a pensions dashboard, after former pensions minister Baroness Ros Altmann warned about this issue.

Baroness Buscombe, the Parliamentary under-secretary of state for pensions, said today (24 July) at the House of Lords that she entirely refutes this suggestion.

In response to media reports last week, which revealed secretary of state Esther McVey has moved to kill off the project, Baroness Altmann argued this was due to the lack of accurate legacy data on pension pots held by providers.

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She said: “That is the biggest hurdle and why the government is saying it is up to the industry to do it.

"Add in the fact that public sector pensions have appalling records and the costs mount up. The government will not be willing to do it.

"The dashboard is dead in the water if the industry does not step up."

Baroness Buscombe argued that a lot of this data is already available to the public.

She said: “The reality is we do already have the online pensions tracing service to help people more easily locate their pension savings, we already have ‘check your state pension’, and we also have the development of the Single Guidance Finance Body.”

The plan behind the pension dashboard, which is due to be launched in 2019, is to create the technology to enable savers to see all of their retirement pots in one place at the same time, giving them a greater awareness of their assets and how to plan for their retirement.

It was originally proposed by former chancellor George Osborne but the government has said the industry should create it and responsibility for the scheme has since moved to the Department for Work & Pensions (DWP).

Baroness Buscombe said the government is “currently exploring the many complex issues associated with developing a pensions dashboard”.

She said: “Our feasibility work is nearing completion, and we will report to Parliament in due course.

“The reality is that we are wanting to be careful to ensure that we cover all the challenging issues associated to the dashboard, not least questions of governance, funding, what role the government might have and weather legislation is necessary.”

Following last week's reports, a petition urging the government to deliver the pension dashboard was launched on 38degrees on Thursday (19 July), which today (24 July) has more than 87,000 signatures.

Since last week’s announcement, several pension experts and bodies have requested the government continue with the project.

The Association of British Insurers (ABI) urged the government against halting the pensions dashboard at the eleventh hour, saying there was "no credible reason" the project should not go ahead.

maria.espadinha@ft.com