The Department for Work and Pensions has confirmed it will not change the pensions triple lock and will explore bolstering the powers of The Pensions Regulator in the forthcoming legislative period.
The DWP published its “single departmental plan” yesterday, which sets out five objectives it is working towards over the next four years.
It has pledged to “increase saving for, and financial security in, later life” with pensions minister Guy Opperman in charge of seeing this through.
Under that objective, the DWP says it will deliver a simplified state pension that “aids retirement planning”, protect low income pensioners, and get more people in workplace pension schemes.
It confirms there will be no change to the state pension triple lock and also says a pensions white paper will be published to “strengthen” the powers of The Pensions Regulator to protect private pension schemes.
The department’s other objectives are making sure work “always pays” and people are supported to find work to help economic growth and productivity, to help reduce disadvantages faced by disabled people and people with health conditions through the welfare system and the labour market, to increase the number of children benefiting from child maintenance, and change how it delivers its services to reduce costs and improve quality.
Aegon pensions head Kate Smith says: “The DWP’s objective of helping more people into work goes hand-in-hand with its auto-enrolment policy. More people in employment means more people having access to a pension, and more importantly to an employer pension contribution. Increasing the scope of auto-enrolment to under 22s will also help. Rather than waiting until the mid-2020s to introduce this change, the DWP should be looking to implement it within four years.
Smith adds: “The latest defined benefit shocks, including the Carillion insolvency with its grossly underfunded DB scheme, demonstrates that The Pensions Regulator needs more powers to better protect members’ pensions. Hopefully the forthcoming defined benefit White Paper will tackle this. Another area worth exploring is how to give providers and schemes more powers to protect members against pension scams by allowing them to block suspicious transfers.”
Last week, Esther McVey was named secretary of state for work and pensions, replacing David Gauke, as part of an executive reshuffle by Prime Minister Theresa May.