Automatic enrolment  

DWP concedes self-employed savings trials have failed

“The saving habit is sticking too, as people recognise the importance of putting money towards their retirement.

“I want people to save even more, if they can, to make sure the retirement they get is the retirement they want.”

Gregg McClymont, the director of policy at The People’s Pension, said: “It's encouraging to see that opt-out rates remain low, following last April’s increase in contribution rates and that saving for a pension has become the ‘norm’ for more than three quarters of those surveyed by the DWP.

“While automatic enrolment has been a great success so far, the government must provide a timeline for when it will act on its own recommendations to reduce the eligibility age from 22 to 18 and make contributions count from the first pound earned. Reducing the earnings threshold from £10,000 to £6,240 should be a priority too. 

“There are millions of under-pensioned workers who can only be helped by these changes to policy.”

Earlier this month (February 13), the government opted to maintain the earnings trigger for automatic enrolment at £10,000 for 2020-21, despite long-held industry concerns that the current level is limiting pensions coverage among underprivileged demographics.

Minister for Pensions and Financial Inclusion Guy Opperman also opted to keep the qualifying earnings bands in line with the national insurance thresholds of £6,240 and £50,000.

Mr Opperman said: “The main focus of this year’s annual review of the AE earnings trigger and qualifying earnings band (the AE thresholds) is to ensure the continued stability of the policy, while learning from the April 2019 AE contribution rate increase.”

This is the last annual review being published by the DWP as the implementation period for auto-enrolment is now over.

The DWP stated that employer staging and the phased increases in minimum contributions have been delivered and the policy has “moved into steady-state”.

amy.austin@ft.com

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