What the pension industry wants from the Budget...and what it doesn't

Now the industry appears optimistic that the Autumn Budget could see this issue addressed, saying the government has let this drag on for too long.

Ian Browne, retirement expert at Quilter, said: “It may not be the most glamorous of issues, but if the Chancellor is truly committed to helping working people and truly committed to ‘levelling-up’, then he must start by ending the two-tier pension system that leaves many lower-earners worse off.

“The need to come up with a solution takes on renewed importance now Uber drivers are to be enrolled into a pension scheme for the first time, but due to the nature of their work may earn below the personal allowance.

“The government must stop dithering and end the net pay delay.”

2 Pension age rise

Concerns have also been raised previously that the government's planned hike to the normal minimum pension age will further complicate the pension system and should be paused.

The government announced in 2014 that the NMPA would increase to age 57 in April 2028 to reflect long-term increases in longevity and changing expectations of how long people will remain in work and in retirement.

But not all pensions will be caught up in the rules as some might offer their members the right to take their benefits at an earlier age. 

For instance, the government said in July that due to their special circumstances, members of the police, firefighters and the armed services would automatically have protected pension ages even if their scheme rules did not state this.

The Budget and accompanying Finance Bill present the “perfect opportunity” for the Treasury to drop or amend how it will implement the NMPA changes, Cameron said.

He added: “The Treasury has been seeking to ‘protect’ a small minority of individuals who are in schemes whose rules by sheer accident of history give an ‘unqualified right’ to take benefits at age 55. While well meaning, these protections would create horrendous complexity and multiple unintended consequences for little real benefit. 

“The pensions industry is united in calling for a radical rethink to keep things simpler and fairer across the board, while helping pension savers understand their entitlements so they can plan for their future.”  

See also: ABI warns MPs over minimum pension age hike

3 Auto enrolment reform

The government has previously said it wants to reduce the earnings limit for auto enrolment eligibility from the current £10,000 per year and cut the age of eligibility from the age of 21, but it has not yet actioned the reforms. 

The Investing and Saving Alliance (TISA) has called on the government to put these agreed outcomes into legislation so that young people can start saving earlier and to ensure low earners are not disproportionately impacted by the lower earnings band.