While employers continue to be a "conduit" for pension savings, more emphasis must be placed on promoting individual responsibility according to the pensions minister.
Speaking at an event this morning Richard Harrington (pictured) said that while employers had a major role to play in helping individuals get into pensions, more needs to be done to help individuals engage more with their savings.
"The way pensions used to be seen was as something only for old people that many people really couldn't relate to," he said. "However, this needs to shift more towards being seen as a long term savings account that the individual owns but they get support from the government and their employers along the way. It's about developing a sense of personal responsibility with the employer acting as a conduit. For instance we wouldn't want everyone to have to take on the whole process by themselves - that would be chaos. Employers can play an important role in terms of setting up pensions but it makes sense that as working patterns change that people take responsibility for their own pension saving."
Harrington's comments tie in with yesterday's written statement announcing the scope of the 2017 review into automatic enrolment into workplace pensions. The statement said the review "would consider how engagement with individuals can be improved so that savers can have a stronger sense of personal ownership."
The minister said the role of technology would be vital in building this engagement and remains convinced that auto-enrolment will continue to be a success, particularly among younger age groups.
"It is still very early days but the signs with auto-enrolment have been encouraging so far," he said. "What gives me extra room for hope is that we are seeing younger people, for instance in the age 20-29 age bracket, engaging with auto-enrolment."
Harrington was speaking at a meeting with the owners of Pillars Brewery, a micro business based in Walthamstow, East London. The owners have chosen to bring forward their staging date as they felt it was important to encourage pension saving among their staff.
The minister praised the business for prioritising pension savings.
"Having been in business myself I know that there are a lot of different things for owners to deal with," he said. "There can be an assumption that there are always other things that need to be done first but the fact is that pensions should be seen as part and parcel of running a business."
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