The Work and Pensions Committee have launched an inquiry into the new State Pension to be introduced in April 2016.
Concerns have been raised that many of those who will be affected by the changes do not know enough about the changes or exactly what they will mean for their pensions.
Concerns are raised especially for people who are close to retirement now and may have done most or all of their retirement planning and saving under the “old” system.
The introduction of the New State Pension from April 2016 is a major reform and will affect millions of people currently of working age.
Although in the long term the reforms will simplify the State Pension, the transition period will be long and complex, and there is a lot of uncertainty among people who will be affected about the impact of the reforms, especially for those now closest to State Pension age.
While many people are expected to be better off, people with for example less than 10 years of National Insurance contributions will no longer receive any State Pension, and people will no longer be able to count on a percentage of their spouse’s pension after their death.
People need a good understanding of what to expect from the New State Pension to aid retirement planning, and avoid confusion and shocks.
Jeremy Quin MP, Committee Member, said: “There have been numerous major changes to pensions over the last few years.
“The introduction of the new State Pension from next April is another. It will affect millions of individuals of working age and it is critical that the changes and how they will effect retirement are clear and easy to understand.
“This inquiry will be looking closely at the implementation of the new State Pension and the Government’s communication strategy around it.”
Chair of the Committee, Frank Field MP, said: “Our predecessor Committee’s report on State Pension changes stressed need for good communications in advance of the changes.
“In addition, there is a group of women born between 1951 and 1953 who feel particularly aggrieved by the way they are affected by the transition to the new State Pension.
“There is a sense that Government has somewhat moved the goalposts in retirement savings without providing enough information about what are, in the end, complex changes, and a risk that some people may face a shock when they come to claim their pension.
“It is important that groups most affected by the changes receive targeted communications that highlight the options available to them.”
The Work and Pensions Committee invites written submissions on the way the Government has communicated the changes, and the issues people are facing in understanding the transition to the new State Pension.
The Committee particularly welcomes submissions on:
- whether the current DWP campaign to raise awareness adequately prepares individuals for the changes
- the extent to which concerns of specific groups will be addressed by communications
- how the Department’s communications in this area might be monitored and improved
the Government’s own administrative readiness for the implementation
- the extent to which communications to date have been adequate, consistent and accurate
The questions the Committee is looking to answer include:
- Does the current campaign to raise awareness adequately prepare individuals for the upcoming changes?
- How should the Department measure the effectiveness of the campaign?
- Is the additional information provided to those approaching State Pension age (those aged over 55) sufficient?
- Is targeting the over 55s for more additional information about the State Pension reforms sufficient or should this be expanded to include a wider age range and/or other groups?
- To what extent are Department communications addressing the needs of specific groups who are affected differently, such as women born between 6 April 1951 and 5 April 1953?
- How could workplace pensions be used to signpost people to information about their State Pension?
- Should employers of those in contracted out pension schemes be providing their employees written information about the state pension reforms when contracting out ends in April 2016?
Written submissions can be made via the ‘understanding the new state pension‘ inquiry page.