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Self-employed: Pensions

Department for Work and Pensions written question – answered on 9th February 2018.

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Photo of James Frith James Frith Labour, Bury North

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment her Department has made of the potential merits of compelling self-employed people to contribute to a private pension.

Photo of Guy Opperman Guy Opperman The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

The Department’s review of automatic enrolment (AE), Maintaining the Momentum, published in December 2017 sets out the Government’s position in regard to the self-employed and retirement saving. The review report can be viewed at: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/668971/automatic-enrolment-review-2017-maintaining-the-momentum.PDF

The self-employed represent a highly diverse group of around 15% of the workforce amongst whom pension coverage varies significantly. Our review recognised that a significant proportion of the 4.8m self-employed individuals in the UK have good levels of saving and preparation for later life – but many groups are under saving, or at risk of under saving for retirement

Compulsion would be an indiscriminate way of tackling this challenge. It would also fail to maximise behavioural learning from automatic enrolment, or recognise personal choice.

As the AE review sets out, our approach is based on applying learning from the principles and the successful roll-out of automatic enrolment to appropriately target interventions and understand what works. During this year, we have committed to test targeted interventions, following feasibility work – before setting out proposals to implement workable solutions at scale.

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