Claire Trott, Head of Pensions Strategy at St. James’s Place Group, said: “We are pleased that, for once, there were no changes to the pension legislation and there has been a much-needed period of calm since the major changes in 2015. It is disappointing that the tapered annual allowance wasn’t scrapped and the contribution rules weren’t simplified in general, but no change is better than added complexity. We hope this will allay fears of a raid on pension tax relief at least in the short term, to allow people to plan for their retirement, a long-term investment. We had hoped that there would be some good news for low earners in ‘net pay’ pension schemes who are still missing out on up to £780 per year on tax relief, that those in ‘relief at source’ pension schemes currently receive. This could have been an easy win for the Government to encourage lower earners to boost their pension savings within auto enrolment schemes.
“However, the confirmation of the rise of the lifetime allowance to £1,055,000 is welcomed because, yet again, there was a fear this could be cut to help raise the tax taken on pensions at retirement. Again, had this been changed, more trust in pensions would have been lost at a time when company pension scheme members are on the rise because of the success of auto enrolment.
“It’s good to finally see the ban on pensions cold call calling come to fruition with the final regulations being laid before Parliament in Autumn this year, and coming into force once approved. This has been a long time coming and although it won’t stop all pensions scams, anything that can be done to stop even one person losing their hard-earned pension is worthwhile. We all need to remain vigilant to changing scams and pension schemes themselves need to be at the forefront and protect their members as best they can.”