Government has got it wrong on pensions

Nov 25 2004 by Brian Amble Print This Article

The UK government is living in a fools’ paradise if they believe the pensions crisis is going to be solved by simply abandoning means tested benefits and increasing the state pension.

According to Charles Cotton, Pensions Adviser at the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), much greater emphasis needs to be placed on pensions communications amid evidence that employers are not doing enough to promote pensions to their employees.

"If the government and MPs think that abandoning means tested benefits for the state pension is going to lead to a stampede of the un-pensioned rushing to join occupational or private pension schemes then they are living in a fools paradise," Charles Cotton said.

"The issue is far more complex than that. People aren't joining occupational or private pensions for a whole raft of reasons. Many don't understand pensions, don't want to understand pensions, don't trust pensions, have other spending priorities and simply don’t believe pensions are for them.

“The government is making attempts to rebuild trust, and the CIPD is helping employers engage with staff over occupational pension schemes, but a lot more remains to be done.

“The key is better communications, education and trust.," he added.

"Research shows that while nearly nine out of ten employers tell staff about pensions during their recruitment and induction process, less than half update staff about their pension arrangements on an ongoing basis.

"Employers are failing to communicate effectively after recruitment, which means that the full value of their rewards package is not appreciated, and yet another opportunity to educate employees about full importance of issues such as saving enough for their retirement is being missed."