The Government has come under attack for refusing to disclose how many people it expects will use its guidance service Pension Wise.
This week a Freedom of Information request submitted by Money Marketing asking for the Government’s predictions on the new service’s workload was rejected.
Advisers are set to pay £4.2m towards the £35m the Government estimates will be needed to run Pension Wise in its first year.
The Treasury refused to share the information, which it confirmed it holds, because the public interest in witholding the information outweighs the public interest in disclosure.
It says the benefits of disclosure are outweighed by “the risk that public exposure when preparing and finalising policy advice would make civil servants less likely to provide full and frank advice or opinions on policy proposals”.
Shadow Treasury financial secretary Cathy Jamieson says: “The Government’s refusal to publish their estimate of how many people will use the new pension guidance service is deeply troubling, but entirely in keeping with their haphazard approach to these reforms.
“The Government has already told us that there will only be “around 300” face-to-face and telephone guidance specialists. With such limited resources the delivery partners will need all the help they can get, especially in the first few months, and it seems obvious that an authoritative estimate of how many people are likely to require guidance would aid their preparations.
”The Government’s claim that by refusing to provide this information they are serving the public interest is simply not credible.”