The government's plans to ban pensions cold calling could be subject to further delays amid speculation that yet another consultation is on the cards.
The ban has been already been delayed since it was announced in last year's autumn statement. The consultation closed on 13 February, with the government expected to give a response by May. However, the government has still not responded, and no legislative action has been taken.
The General Election led to the ban being excluded from the upcoming Financial Guidance and Claims Bill, as announced by the Department for Work and Pensions in July.
Experts predict there will a further consultation involving detailed discussion with stakeholders during the course of the year.
Former pensions minister Baroness Ros Altmann said the government is about to issue "yet another consultation on banning pensions cold calling".
Hargreaves Lansdown head of policy Tom McPhail also said he believes there will be a further consultation, and predicted that there could be action "sometime this week".
A Treasury spokesperson told PP in a written statement:
"We're determined to put an end to dodgy pension scams and have consulted on a number of measures to tackle the problem. We will shortly set out next steps on the cold calling ban."
However, the Treasury was unable to supply a timeframe as to how long it would be.
Also, when asked whether there would be another consultation on the measures, the spokesperson referred back to its written statement.
McPhail said the confusion is down to the Treasury being "reluctant to confirm anything until it is ready to make an announcement."
The delayed action is worrying as scammers in the knowledge that the government will take action soon, may use this time period to target more people before the ban is imposed.
This is significant seeing as cold calling is the most common method of initiating pension fraud.
Altmann called for "clear support across political parties and pensions firms for a ban", and said the government needs to "urgently ban cold calling, not just keep consulting".
She said: "If the government really is serious about protecting the public and stopping more scams, then it could seize the opportunity offered by the legislation to act, rather than endlessly consulting while unsuspecting people lose more money.
Critics of government inaction such as Altmann, have pick up on the possibility of using the Financial Guidance and Claims Bill as "there is no other obvious legislative vehicle in the Queen's Speech that would enable a ban to be introduced in the next two years".
"I will be laying amendments to the bill to try to get this enacted more quickly," she said.
"There is no other obvious legislative vehicle in the Queen's Speech that would enable a ban to be introduced in the next two years and as Brexit legislation will dominate, this bill is an ideal opportunity to finally act."
Delays could contribute to the rising numbers of cold calling pension scams, following research commissioned by Phoenix Group in December 2016 revealing that the number of UK adults who received cold calls about their pension rose to 26%.
Altmann sees this bill as an "ideal opportunity to finally act" on cold calling as she claims fraudsters are not being caught.
"Data from 'Action Fraud' (the national centre for fraud and cybercrime) and its National Fraud Intelligence Bureau showed that over 2,000 frauds had been reported since 2014, but only seven suspects have been summonsed or charged in connection with these and no convictions."
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