Online petition to save pensions dashboard plan

An online petition to stop the government scrapping its planned pensions dashboard designed to help millions of people keep track of their pensions has attracted over 130,000 signatures in the three weeks it has been open

Hosted on the 38 Degrees website, the petition is addressed to welfare secretary Esther McVey, and has been set up in response to an article in the Times newspaper last month which suggested she wants to scrap the idea of a new government website.

The creation of a pensions dashboard was originally announced by the then Chancellor George Osborne in 2016, who said it would be up and running in 2019.

The Association of British Insurers (ABI) project managed the successful creation of a prototype pensions dashboard on behalf of the Treasury which was unveiled in March 2017. The industry body said that lessons from overseas show that the best way of providing a comprehensive service is to make participation compulsory, so all schemes get their data up to the necessary standards. This requires legislation, while the scheme must also be appropriately regulated and funded, to ensure consumers trust it and want to use it.

Huw Evans, ABI director general, said: ‘It is vital the Government stands by its promises on the pension dashboard. To abandon it would be a huge let down to millions of savers, leaving them unable to find the money they have saved and even exposing them to fraud.

‘This is an initiative with cross-party support, backed by consumer groups, which is a win-win for everyone. The pensions industry is committed to helping but we need government involvement to ensure the system works fairly for everyone.’

The original plan was to use the ABI blueprint to create a live service and Origo, one of the technology development companies involved in the DWP prototype has recently reported it has scale tested a version of the system successfully for use by 15m active consumers, 80% of whom are active on any given day, with 200 pension provider systems (or ‘end points’) in the ecosystem.

The online petition points out that auto-enrolment has created 9m new workplace savers, and that the average worker will change jobs 11 times, while according to estimates by the Department for Work and Pensions, 50m pension pots are at risk of being lost by 2050 without an official website to help workers to keep track of savings through their careers.

The petition, To Esther McVey MP: Don't scrap the pensions dashboard is here 

Report by Pat Sweet

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