- In January Richard Holden MP put forward a Private Members’ Bill to urge government to enact changes to auto-enrolment (AE).
- Changes included reducing the minimum age someone can be auto-enrolled from 22 to 18 and remove the lower earnings limits – the amount you need to earn to qualify for auto-enrolment.
- These amendments were included in the government’s 2017 AE Review which said it would introduce these changes by the mid-2020s.
- In the House of Commons today pension minister Guy Opperman said given we are in the latter part of the Parliamentary session the practical reality is that the Bill could not get through in time for the Queen’s speech.
- He reiterated government’s support for the 2017 AE review reforms and said in the fullness of time the government would bring forward or support legislation.
Helen Morrissey, senior pensions and retirement analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown:
“It was always going to be a challenge to push through these reforms by the end of this Parliamentary session and so it comes as no surprise Richard Holden MP’s private members’ bill hit a hurdle today with the minister saying time is running out. However, Holden has fought a strong campaign that has really raised the profile of the need for further reform to auto-enrolment and garnered significant support.
Reducing the minimum age to 18 and removing the lower earnings limits has the potential to bring many more people into the workplace pension sphere. They have the potential to significantly boost the retirement prospects of part-time workers, especially women who currently do not benefit from auto-enrolment but may wish to do so.
The pension minister said reform would be brought through in the “fullness of time”, but the concern is that the mid-2020s might become the late 2020s and the timetable gets pushed further and further out. These are important reforms that must not be kicked out into the long grass.”