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Pension freedoms legislation handed Royal Assent

Government legislation which enables the introduction of radical new pension freedoms has been handed Royal Assent.

The Pensions Scheme Act, which also enables the creation of so-called ‘Defined Ambition’ risk-sharing schemes, received approval from Queen Elizabeth II today.

Pensions minister Steve Webb says the passing of the Act “marks the culmination of a five-year pensions revolution under this Coalition Government”.

He adds: “While for years successive governments simply watched the slow decline of the final salary scheme, we have responded by giving firms new ways of providing their staff with secure pensions.

“There is a real appetite from employers to offer high-quality pensions for their staff and the new Defined Ambition pensions made possible by this Act will enable a new generation of better, fairer schemes.

“The Act also protects the new pension freedoms and flexibilities, so people have control of their pension pots, and know it is a criminal offence for scammers to pretend to offer official Pension Wise guidance.”

National Association of Pension Funds chief executive Joanne Segars says the progress of the legislation will allow schemes to focus on implementing reforms ahead of April.

She says: “But with only 23 working days to go before the reforms go live, and schemes working flat out to implement the reforms in time, Government should waste no time in providing the missing pieces of the puzzle.

“These reforms have the potential to bring real benefits to savers, but there is still uncertainty amongst the public about what they should do to make the most of the opportunities. It is vital government ensures all communications to savers are realistic, so they can make solid plans for retirement and avoid disappointment.” 

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