Commission launches inquiry into pensions failings

An independent commission has been launched to investigate why the pensions system is failing so many working people in the UK.

The Workplace Retirement Income Commission (WRIC), led by Treasury Select Committee chairman Lord McFall, will look at what barriers exist to workplace retirement savings for both employers and staff.

The WRIC, which has been initiated by the National Association of Pension Funds (NAPF), will seek out a range of views and research before making its findings public in 2011.

The commission’s findings will be put to policymakers to help the government meet its coalition agreement commitment to reinvigorate occupational pensions.

The launch of the commission comes as findings from a YouGov poll for the poll found that 84% of UK adults believe society needs to rethink how it saves for old age, while 79% think the UK needs a simpler pension system.

The poll also found 43% of people who are not retired cannot afford to save for retirement and 55% are not confident they will have enough money in their old age.

Lord McFall said: “While the visionary proposals put forward by Lord Turner’s commission will get more people saving for their retirement from 2012, they are the beginning of the reform process, rather than the end.

“Even with auto-enrolment, up to nine million people risk being left behind, and we have to make it easier for everyone to save more. We will look at different types of pension and savings products, tax incentives, and the regulations faced by employers.

“And there is a big question about whether those who do pay into a pension are saving enough, or are getting a good deal. If the system changed, could they get a better return?

“The Commission aims to shine a bright light on these issues. To understand the problems we will be reaching out very widely – not just to those in business and the pensions industry, but especially to people trying to save for their retirement.”

The other members of the commission are: Graham Cole, managing director of AgustaWestland, John Hannett, general secretary of union Usdaw, Chris Hitchen, chief executive of pension service provider RPMI and former NAPF chairman, Paul Johnson, director of the Institute for Fiscal Studies, and Imelda Walsh, former HR director of Sainsbury’s and author of an independent review into extending the right to request flexible working.

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