New HMRC figures show that 1.1 million payments have been made since the pension freedoms were launched, with 158,000 people accessing £1.54 billion flexibly from their pension pots over the last 3 months. This brings the total amount of money withdrawn from pensions to £7.65 billion since April 2015.
Last year the government brought in the most significant pension reforms for a generation, giving people who’ve worked hard and saved their entire lives the ability to access their savings how and when they want.
Recent research from the ABI shows that the vast majority of pension savers are using the new freedoms well and making sustainable long-term retirement income decisions.
The Economic Secretary to the Treasury, Simon Kirby, said:
Today’s figures prove that allowing people to do what they with their hard-earned savings, whether it’s buying an annuity or taking a cash lump sum, is the right thing to do.
The freedoms remain a popular choice as people consider the different ways to fund their retirement.
People accessing their pensions are also benefiting from the government’s free and impartial pension’s guidance service, Pension Wise, which has already had over 3 million visits to the website and nearly 90,000 appointments to date.
The government has also announced plans to protect consumers by capping early exit fees, allowing earlier access to Pension Wise guidance, and working with industry to build a Pensions Dashboard prototype by April 2017.
- since the pension flexibility rules took effect from 6 April 2015:
- people have flexibly accessed over £7.65 billion of their own money through 1.1 million payments
- in the most recent quarter, 158,000 individuals withdrew £1.54 billion. In the previous quarter, 159,000 individuals withdrew £1.77 billion
- the numbers published for 2015-16 are not comprehensive as to manage the burden on industry reporting was optional for 2015-16 but compulsory from April 2016.
HMRC statistics cover ‘flexible payments’, which means partial or full withdrawal of the pension pot, taking money from a flexible drawdown account, or buying a flexible annuity
- the figures for the current quarter (October - December 2016) will be published in January 2016