Savers access £9.2bn through pension freedoms


Savers have accessed more than £9.2 billion through the pension freedoms since the pension reforms were introduced in April 2015, according to data from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

Its Flexible payments from pensions: January 2017 report also found that the number of individuals who have received flexible payments from their pensions has risen from 84,000 during the second quarter of 2015 to 162,000 individuals during the fourth quarter of 2016.

More than one million payments were made from pension pots between April 2016 and December 2016, compared to 516,000 payments between April 2015 and March 2016.

In October-December 2016, 393,000 payments were made by 162,000 individuals, amounting to £1.56 billion. This compares to 324,000 payments in the third quarter of the year, when 158,000 individuals received payments totalling £1.54 billion, and 296,000 payments in the second quarter of 2016, when 159,000 individuals received payments totalling £1.77 billion.

The figures are based on data reported to HMRC. Reporting was optional up to April 2016, when it was made compulsory. For this reason, figures prior to this are not comprehensive.

Simon Kirby, the economic secretary to the Treasury, said: “Giving people freedom over what they do with their hard-earned savings, whether it’s buying an annuity or taking a cash lump sum, is the right thing to do. These figures show that people continue to take advantage of the choices on offer: choices ‎only made available since the government’s landmark pension freedoms were introduced in April 2015.

“We are working with our partners, including Pension Wise, the regulators and pension firms, so that savers have the support they need to understand the options available to them.”