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Richard Harrington: The Govt’s priorities for pensions

Harrington-Richard 620

During my first six months as pensions minister, I have been listening to the industry, businesses and consumers about their hopes and issues for the future. So with 2017 underway, I am pleased to be able to set out some key private pensions priorities for this year so people can be clear about what is important to this Government, and where I shall be focusing my efforts.

A top priority is to make sure the rollout of automatic enrolment continues to be a success. As I come from a business background, I want to ensure we have a system that works both for individuals and employers.

One micro employer I met recently was clear supporting pension saving was the right thing to do, but also told me about the challenges they face meeting legal obligations while focused on managing the growth of their business. This feels like a view that may be common to many small businesses. So while auto-enrolment continues to be a huge success, there is still more to do. In particular, we need to make the process as easy as possible and ensure we are providing the necessary support.

Just over a million small and micro employers will be required to enrol their staff before March 2018, and we need to help them get this right. This year, we will carry out a review of auto-enrolment and I would strongly encourage all interested parties to contribute.  Supporting smaller employers through auto-enrolment is a huge opportunity for the pensions industry as well as a challenge, and I want to see the pensions industry create products and services that appeal to and work for businesses.

Given we now have millions of new savers, I want to ensure the right protections are in place to help them make the right choices and take best advantage of their hard-earned savings. That is why we are consulting on a new, single guidance body, which will offer savers a one-stop shop for all their questions about financial matters. We are also speaking with the industry on new measures to prevent pension scams and ban cold-calling. It is crucial consumers are educated about their options, so I urge the industry to look at what more they can do to keep savers informed.

Following a small number of high profile cases in 2016, I am also looking at the challenges facing some defined benefit pension schemes. I shall be publishing a green paper that looks at a wide range of issues across the sector, including whether it would be helpful for some schemes to consolidate to secure the best outcome for members, and whether additional powers for The Pensions Regulator are needed.

These are just some of the challenges we face. 2017 looks set to be another busy year in the pensions world, and I look forward to working with the industry and others throughout the year as we tackle these important issues.

Richard Harrington is the pensions minister



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There are 8 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. so nothing about abolishing the lifetime allowance so that people can save properly for their retirement what a surprise that a politician totally ignores this aspect while of course he gets his gold plated pension SO HYPOCRITICAL

  2. Nothing, as usual, from Harrington about the injustice of freezing 4% of State pensions, all of which have been fully paid up on exactly the same terms as the remaining 96% who receive full indexation! This is nothing less than fraud yet the subject is consistently avoided by the Minister who could, and should, act honourably to put an end to the totally unjust policy. Why is the subject totally ignored? Remaining silent on the issue will not cause it to disappear, Mr. Harrington, be assured we unjustly frozen pensioners will certainly not be silenced!

  3. Heads up Mr Harrington when it comes to your looking at state pensions……the 4% who are victims of the frozen pension scandal are still waiting, as their frozen pensions are worth less and less, for you to address this injustice and if the UK wishes to make friends again with the Commonwealth this had better be the first issue on the agenda.

  4. Sorry if you have million micro employers being thrown into the system in the next 12 months and you are only just thinking of consulting on this you are TOO late. By the time you have consulted, considered the responses and then formed any new rules the micro employers will already had to enrol under current rules. If you want to do all this then pause the current process after many of those same businesses are also going to have to contend with Brexit at the same time.

  5. Andy Robertson-Fox 13th January 2017 at 10:09 am

    Jane Davies and Anne Puckridge have identified what should be the number one priority for Mr. Harrington – the repeal of section 20 of the Pension Act 2014.
    However, if Harrington fails to act responsibly and abolish this irrationality, will those in the auto-enrolment scheme and who opt to retire in a frozen territory suffer the same discrimination as the frozen State Pensioner currently does?

  6. Harrington says “I shall be publishing a green paper that looks at a wide range of issues across the sector, including whether it would be helpful for some schemes to consolidate to secure the best outcome for members, and whether additional powers for The Pensions Regulator are needed.”
    The TPR are a useless body with respect to the state pension and do not answer any problems caused by the Government’s ineptitude.
    If Richard Harrington has any respect for the pensioners that he is now responsible to and any personal integrity and abides by the Code of Conduct required of MP’s which states that :
    5. Members have a duty to uphold the law, including the general law against discrimination.

    6. Members have a general duty to act in the interests of the nation as a whole; and a special duty to their constituents.

    7. Members should act on all occasions in accordance with the public trust placed in them. They should always behave with probity and integrity, including in their use of public resources.
    Then this abomination of a Pensions Act must be rewritten by parliament and a responsible clear thinking Government be reminded of their duty to the people for which they have volunteered, so let’s cut the crap and have some honesty.

  7. How come Stephen Merchant is the new pensions minister?

  8. Richard Harrington: The Govt’s priorities for pensions- should be equality and fairness and no discrimination hidden behind a legalised section of the Pension Act that allows fraud to be used.
    Despicable that a Pensions Minister should condone such treatment to the very people that he is supposed to be looking after.
    If you have any sense if justice or morality Mr Harrington you will speak up and do your best to stop such harsh undemocratic immoral treatment. Stop the freezing now.

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