Press release

Millions more saving thanks to automatic enrolment

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

Nearly 5.2 million workers have been enrolled into a workplace pension scheme through automatic enrolment.

New figures released today (12 March 2015) show that nearly 5.2 million workers have been enrolled into a workplace pension scheme by their employer as part of the government’s revolutionary reform, automatic enrolment.

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The policy has heralded a new era in workplace pension saving, bringing to an end what had been a decade-long decline in the number of people who were putting something away for their retirement.

Automatic enrolment was launched in 2012, initially with the largest businesses enrolling their staff into a workplace pension scheme into which the employer, worker and the government would make contributions. The process has since rolled out to medium-sized business and will reach small and micro employers from June this year.

By 2018, when the roll-out is complete, it is expected that up to 9 million people will be newly saving or saving more, giving them a greater sense of economic security and peace of mind in retirement.

Minister for Pensions Steve Webb said:

Over the past 5 years we have carried out root and branch reform to create a pensions system that is fit for the future. Millions more people are now putting something by for their retirement.

People are living longer than ever and it is vital for their future prosperity that they save when they can. Automatic enrolment is giving people real support to do just that, with the employee, their employer and the government making regular, affordable and fair contributions.

New pension freedoms are due to kick-in in April 2015 giving savers unprecedented access to their cash. With millions more now saving from an earlier age, people will be much better placed to take full advantage of these freedoms and use their savings in the way that suits them and their family.

Automatic enrolment executive director at The Pensions Regulator, Charles Counsell, added:

The first two years of automatic enrolment have been a success with many thousands of employers now helping to change the way we as a nation save for retirement.

This is no time to rest though as significant challenges lie ahead. The Pensions Regulator is now writing to all employers across the country and calling them to action. Our message to employers is clear – act now and start preparing in good time.

In a fundamental change of emphasis, automatic enrolment means that instead of choosing whether to join a workplace pension scheme, individuals will have to actively decide that pension saving is not for them and opt out.

Automatic enrolment has taken the hassle out of the process for the employee and figures show that around 9 out of 10 people who have been automatically enrolled do not opt out of their scheme. The latest figures released by The Pensions Regulator today show that nearly 45,000 employers have now automatically enrolled their staff.

With people typically having 11 different jobs over their working lives, the government has also announced that it will roll out a new system to help people keep their savings in one place while they move jobs.

Next year automatic transfers will begin, meaning that an individual’s pension pot will follow them as they move between companies.

Background

By the time automatic enrolment is fully rolled out in 2018, it is expected that around 1.3 million employers will have enrolled their staff into a workplace pension scheme.

Automatic enrolment is just one of a number of ground-breaking pension reforms, and will be complemented by:

  • new pension freedoms taking effect next month (April 2015), allowing some holders of defined contribution schemes to access their cash without having to buy an annuity from the age of 55
  • a new State Pension, being introduced next year, which will be simpler to understand and fairer all round, particularly on women and people who are self-employed
  • the triple lock, guaranteeing existing and future pensioners an annual increase of whichever is the highest of inflation, wage growth or 2.5%
  • a cap on annual charges levied by pension schemes of 0.75%

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