Press release

Government issues a call for evidence on allowing early access to pension savings

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Financial Secretary to the Treasury, Mark Hoban MP, today launched a call for evidence document on early access to pension savings.

Financial Secretary to the Treasury, Mark Hoban MP, today launched a call for evidence document on early access to pension savings.  As set out in the Coalition Agreement, the Government is committed to exploring whether early access could provide an incentive to encourage higher levels of private pension saving.

The Government is keen to receive evidence on the potential benefits and risks of allowing early access to pension savings, how it could be offered, and to what extent a reform would be welcomed by pension schemes, providers, individuals and other interested parties. The Government will make a decision on whether to develop more detailed proposals in this area in light of the responses received.

Mark Hoban said:

The Government is committed to encouraging saving and wants to give individuals the maximum flexibility and responsibility to save for retirement.   Early access is an idea we are keen to consider, and so today we ask pension schemes, providers and individuals to offer their evidence on the possible merits of any reform in this area.

Early access would be a further step in giving additional flexibility to individuals over their savings, following the publication last week of the draft legislation and summary of responses on removing the requirement to annuitise by age 75.

Notes for editors

  1. Currently, individuals can only access savings in a registered pension scheme from age 55 at the earliest (except in cases of serious ill health or other limited circumstances.)

  2. The call for evidence document “Early Access to Pension Savings” is available on the HM Treasury website.

  3. Responses to the call for evidence can be sent to:earlyaccess@hmtreasury.gsi.gov.uk.

  4. The response period starts on 13 December 2010 and closes on the 25 February 2011.  The Government will make a decision on whether to develop more detailed proposals in this area once it has considered all the evidence and views received.

  5. The Department for Work and Pensions estimate that around 7 million working age people are currently under-saving for retirement.

  6. Pensions saving received tax relief worth £19.7bn net in 2009/10 (HMRC).

  7. Responses to this call for evidence should be sent to HM Treasury by Friday 25 February 2011.

Non-media enquiries should be addressed to the Treasury Correspondence and Enquiry Unit on 020 7270 4558 or by e-mail to public.enquiries@hmtreasury.gsi.gov.uk

Media enquiries should be addressed to the Treasury Press Office on 020 7270 5238.