Wed 3rd Jul 2013
Pension Reform: Limiting the Squeeze on Business
No one, least not business, disputes the enormity of the challenge that demographic change poses to the UK economy. By 2026, half of all adults in the UK will be over 50. Our current fiscal position, combined with longer life expectancies, means the Government can no longer guarantee there will always be enough money to pay for long retirements. People will have to work longer, and they will have to save more.
This is why the British Chambers of Commerce has been a supporter of auto-enrolment as a means to boosting retirement income. However, the complex web of regulations that were passed at the beginning of 2010 is not what was expected when the concept was first proposed four years earlier. Businesses cannot be expected, nor can they afford, to act as an administrator to make the Pensions Act 2008 run smoothly. Both the set up and running costs of the reforms are too high, and there is a real risk that, combined with the other employment regulations due to commence in the next few years, they could damage job creation. Businesses have told me that they need more information about these reforms so that they can start planning the future of their workforce, deciding on appropriate and affordable benefit packages, and importantly to be able to accurately tender for future contracts.
Yes it is important that employees have access to a pension pot at the end of their working lives – but it is also important to ensure that the private sector can afford to create the jobs required to drive the economy in the first place.