Belfast Telegraph

Auto enrolment means a better, more secure future


Guy Opperman

Last year I took great pride in visiting this historic city of Belfast. I was inspired by the eye-catching Titanic Quarter development, the iconic City Hall and, above all, the warm welcome I received.

The city's regeneration tells of an understanding of just how much plans made today can result in a more prosperous future.

I don't need to tell Belfast Telegraph readers that by saving money into a pension now they'll reap the rewards later. After all, a pension is one of the most important assets any of us will build up in our lives.

It provides a vital lifeline in retirement and gives us the freedom to truly enjoy our later years by getting out into the world and diving into the hobbies we perhaps didn't have time to take up while working.

There has been a huge rise in pension saving in Belfast thanks to the Government's automatic enrolment policy, with 49,000 more people saving into a workplace pension since 2012 - a figure that's now at more than 10 million across the whole of the UK.

That was the goal of automatic enrolment - to bring people into saving in their droves and help them set themselves up for later life - and these fantastic numbers mean a better, more secure future for hard-working people.

Automatic enrolment into workplace pensions means that you and your boss are paying into your retirement fund and receiving tax relief on those contributions throughout your working life. In simple terms, it means that if you stick with it you could receive more than £100,000 when you retire.

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More people than ever before are working and saving because of these reforms, and the good news for workers doesn't end there. We are also seeing a record low unemployment rate, a 40-year high in the number of people in work and millions of jobs created.

But just getting people saving is not enough. I am determined to do all I can to help people better understand their pensions. That is why we are working with pension companies to create something called a 'pensions dashboard'.

This is an app or a web page where you will be able to, at the touch of a screen or click of a button, see all of your pension savings online in one place. That means your state pension and your workplace pensions. This will transform the way you view your pension and let you have much greater control over your savings.

A huge step forward into the 21st century, leaving the world of fax machines and filing cabinets well and truly in the rear view mirror.

I am determined to reform the pensions industry and continue the Government's ground-breaking work in this area, not only with automatic enrolment and pension dashboards but by also introducing a new type of pension.

The collective defined contribution pension will give millions of people more choice and potentially better returns. It is a very exciting reform which will positively reshape the pensions landscape.

The Government has made pension saving easier and better for the people of Belfast, with radical reforms that will help millions of people for decades in retirement.

It's a real point of pride that the thousands of hard-working people that call this great city home can look forward to a more secure retirement.

  • Guy Opperman is Minister for Pensions and Financial Inclusion

Belfast Telegraph