Published On: Mon, Oct 14th, 2019

Queen’s Speech 2019 confirms Pensions Schemes Bill but WASPI women ‘overlooked’ says MP | Personal Finance | Finance

Following the Queen’s Speech, Joanna Cherry QC MP was asked for her thoughts on the speech by BBC presenter Huw Edwards. The Scottish National Party politician said: “I tell you one thing that I welcome, the idea that there should be consequences for those who irresponsibly manage private pension funds. I think we can all get behind that, but I would also like to see some money for the WASPI women who have been so unfairly treated. Again, they have been overlooked.”

Tom McPhail, Head of pensions policy at Hargreaves Lansdown, said: “Firstly it is worth noting everything is dependent on Brexit and the uncertainty of how long this government will last.

“It also notable this is a Pension Schemes Bill which means it won’t accommodate any unwelcome amendments from the opposition relating to WASPI women, who are seeking compensation in relation to increases in their state pension age.”

Steven Cameron Pensions Director at Aegon commented: “We are pleased the Pensions Bill included within the Queen’s Speech confirms critical pensions changes are a post-Brexit priority for the current Government.

“While it remains to be seen if the Speech or its constituent Bills will be approved by Parliament, we call on other parties to support the Pensions Bill as pensions dashboards and added protections for defined benefit scheme members should have cross-party support.

“The aspect of the Pensions Bill of greatest and most wide importance is that concerning Pension Dashboards. Millions of individuals have multiple pensions in which they’ve built up benefits over their working lives and Pension Dashboards will for the first time allow them to see all of these, online at the touch of a button.

“This offers a huge opportunity to help millions of individuals better engage with their retirement planning, understanding if they are on track for the retirement they aspire to, and if not, to take action accordingly.

“For many their state pension is a significant proportion so while the Queen’s Speech did not refer to this, it is vital state pensions are also included in pension dashboards from day one.

“Pension providers and schemes, working with the Money and Pensions Service Delivery Group, are pressing ahead with many aspects of dashboard preparation, but legislation is needed to compel all pension schemes and providers to supply comprehensive data and state pension information must also be included.”

Gregg McClymont, director of policy at The People’s Pension, said: “We’re pleased to see that the Government intends to introduce legislation to compel pension companies to provide the data needed to make the pensions dashboard work. Without compulsion the dashboard is a pipedream.

“But there remain a package of measures necessary if the public are to have confidence in dashboard. First, dashboard won’t work unless all savers can see all their pensions in one place.

“Total coverage is therefore crucial.. Second, charges must be included from the outset to achieve transparency.

“Third, if the Government continues to promote multiple dashboards it’s imperative that a legal duty to operate in the best interests of savers is placed on all such operators.”

Meanwhile, Steve Webb, Director of Policy at Royal London and former Pensions Minister, commented: “This Bill is notable more for the things that have been left out than for what it contains.

“The absence of vital measures on automatic enrolment and on regulating new ‘superfunds’ is a sign of a battle inside government where the Treasury once again has defeated the DWP.

“As a result, the vital expansion of automatic enrolment is now on hold, and the regulation of pension superfunds has been left in regulatory limbo.

“It is one of the biggest failings of UK pension policy that the Department with lead responsibility for pensions can be thwarted in bringing forward sensible reforms by an over-mighty Treasury which has no vision for pensions.”

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