Govt to cut one-in-three Pension Wise guiders

Pension Wise jenga

The Department for Work and Pensions is to cut just over a third of the total number of guiders working on the Government’s Pension Wise service.

Earlier this week, the Government revealed that the overall budget for the service would drop by a quarter, with advisers’ levy almost halved to £2.7m.

And now, Money Marketing can reveal the Government is also budgeting for a dramatic reduction in the number of staff providing guidance through Pension Wise.

The number of full time equivalent Pension Wise guiders will drop from 287.1 in 2015/16 to 185.5 in 2016/17 – a reduction of 35 per cent.

A DWP Spokesperson says: “We deliberately built extra capacity into the Pension Wise service at the start to ensure that anyone could make an appointment, regardless of where they lived in the UK.

“Pension Wise has now been running for nearly a year and we are in a better position to plan capacity. We are actively working with our delivery partners to ensure we have the right resources in the right places.”

Statistics published this week show Pension Wise delivered 5,916 appointments in February, up from 4,426 a month earlier but still lower than the peak of 6,755 recorded in October.

The decision to sharply reduce the numbers of guiders comes as the Government reviews how it is providing financial guidance.

At the time of the Budget, the Treasury unveiled proposals to merge together The Pensions Advisory Service and Pension Wise to create a singular body for support on retirement savings.

It also proposed the closure of the Money Advice Service, with a new successor organisation created solely to commission other providers to generate debt advice and other money support.