Mhairi Black urges Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt to resolve ‘daylight robbery’ of unclaimed pensions

Written by Jenni Davidson on 8 July 2019 in News

Research by the Association of British Insurers and Pensions Policy Institute suggested there could be nearly £20bn of unclaimed pensions in the UK

Savings and pensions - Image credit: Adobe Stock

An SNP MP is urging the two Tory leadership candidates to commit to a UK Government pledge to set up a pensions portal to deal with the “daylight robbery” of unclaimed pensions.

Mhairi Black has written to Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt to ask them to follow through on a 2016 UK Government budget commitment to set up a pensions dashboard by 2019, after research by the Association of British Insurers (ABI) and Pensions Policy Institute (PPI) suggested there could be nearly £20bn of unclaimed pensions in the UK.

The ABI and the PPI estimate that there are 1.6 million unclaimed pension pots in Britain, which amounts to nearly £20bn of unclaimed funds – the equivalent of nearly £13,000 per pot.

But in reality, the figure is likely to be even higher, because the research only included defined-contribution pension schemes, with other money potentially lying unclaimed in public sector pensions and trust-based schemes.

The ABI estimates that the average person will have around 11 different jobs and move house eight times, meaning it can be easy for workers to lose track of one or more pensions they have paid into.

The idea of the pensions dashboard is that it would be a single website where people can see all of their retirement funds easily in one place.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has recommended that the data be pulled through directly to the website from providers and updated in real time.

As well as resolving the issue of lost paperwork and forgotten investments, according to a House of Commons report, a similar scheme in the Netherlands has led to increased engagement with pensions among consumers.

In addition to the dashboard, Black had called on Johnson and Hunt to set an independent savings and pensions commission of experts to outline a roadmap for long-term and sustainable pensions policy-making, as well as to consider the demographic needs of different parts of the UK in relation to state pension age.

Black said: “The fact that there are about 1.6 million lost pension pots in the UK – amounting to nearly £20 billion of unclaimed pension funds – is yet another failing of this Tory government and quite frankly daylight robbery to allow the savings, rights and entitlements of citizens to go unclaimed and unpaid.

“My SNP colleagues and I have consistently argued for a fairer pension system that delivers dignity in retirement.

“The next prime minister, whoever it may be, must take action to deliver this and reform pension and saving policy – starting with creating a pensions dashboard and establishing an independent savings and pensions commission.

“Pensioner poverty has been an issue that has been ignored and downgraded by the Tory government for too long.

“From the burning injustices facing the WASPI [Women Against State Pension Age Inequality] women who have been denied their right to their state pension to the stripping away pension credit for the over-75s, this government’s attitude towards older people is diabolical.

“It is time the Tories took their responsibilities as a government seriously and prioritised the rights of pensioners and people who need to plan for old age instead of sitting on their hands.”

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