Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn is the most trusted party leader to safeguard people’s retirement through political reform, research by the Pensions Management Institute has found.
Although ahead of the rest, just 26 per cent of people trust Corbyn, followed by 21 per cent who trust Prime Minister Theresa May. Within different demographic groups, confidence in Jeremy Corbyn was the highest among 18-24-year-olds, with 48 per cent of this group indicating they trusted him the most, while Theresa May was more trusted by the elderly, with 33 per cent of over 65s giving her the most credibility.
However, 41 per cent of respondents said they did not trust any politician to secure their retirement through political reform. Furthermore, a separate survey of over 250 PMI members revealed the majority of pension professionals do not think that Work and Pensions Secretary of State David Gauke (57 per cent) or Pensions Minister Guy Opperman (59 per cent) will remain in post until the end of this parliament.
In addition, a large majority of pension professionals (64 per cent) think that workplace pensions are a medium to low priority for the government. In light of this, it is perhaps not surprising to see that 72 per cent of people are not aware of the incoming increases to pension contributions under the auto-enrolment scheme.
Whilst the pension freedoms reform was received positively by the public at large when it was introduced in April 2015, people are now quite divided about whether it was a good thing, with 29 per cent saying it was good, 31 per cent thinking it was bad, and 21 per cent having no opinion. The thinking among pension professionals is quite in line with this, with 43 per cent saying the reforms have gone too far in allowing members too many cash options for DC pension schemes.
The Populus research also highlighted a widespread desire for greater simplification of pensions, with 76 per cent of people saying that the government needs to do more to make pensions more straightforward. In recent years, pensions have seen several successive reforms, posing a challenge for both laypeople and professionals to stay on top on numerous new and old regulation. The vast majority of pension professionals (73 per cent) meanwhile are keen to see the creation of a standing Pensions Commission to help to depoliticise policy and avoid constant tinkering.
PMI president Robert Branagh said: “Despite all of the political commentary coming out of the party conferences, it is clear that our political leaders still have some work to do to simplify pensions further and help people understand and engage with their long term retirement provision better. As we approach the phasing stages of auto-enrolment, there is clearly still work to be done to educate and inform people what is happening.
“There is a real danger that Brexit and other major issues facing our political leaders, will result in pensions taking too much of a back seat on the political agenda and with their eye off the ball, all of the good work done to date establishing a new savings culture under this system could be undone. It is critical therefore that all parties work together and commit the time required to ensure the future success of the pension system in the U.K.”