BUDGET 18: Pension dashboard receives £5m to support launch

Chancellor Philip Hammond has announced an additional £5m of funding to support the launch of pension dashboard in his 2018 Budget.

He said that the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) will work closely with the pensions industry and with financial technology firms to help make the dashboard a reality.

“The government is taking steps to support the launch of pensions dashboards, innovative tools that will for the first time allow an individual to see their pension pots, including their State Pension, in one place,”the Treasury stated in Budget background documents.

Along with the 2019-2020 funding, it was also confirmed that the DWP will consult on the detailed design for the dashboard, as well as how an industry-led approach could harness innovation while protecting consumers.

In September, Work and Pensions Secretary Esther McVey backed the industry to deliver the pensions dashboard, after months of speculation surrounding the project. At the time, she said the DWP backs the industry to “take a leading role” in order to “harness their knowledge”, while the government continues to engage on the model.

This came after it was reported in July that McVey was looking to "kill off" the project, first set to be launched in April 2019, as she thought it would distract from the government’s attempt to implement Universal Credit.

The government has previously said it would be publishing a dashboard feasibility study this autumn.

Association of British Insurers (ABI) director general Huw Evans said it is good to see provision in the Budget of £5m of new funding to help enable the launch of the pensions dashboard project.

The ABI was responsible for testing a prototype project developed by the industry for the dashboard for HM Treasury and DWP in 2017 and found it both “technically viable and clearly in consumers interests”.

Commenting on the Budget, Evans said: “Delivering comprehensive dashboards, including details of the state pension, will help millions of savers keep track of their funds and work out if they are saving enough for retirement. Our sector is ready to continue its collaboration with government on making this vital service a reality, and we look forward to seeing the details of the DWP’s feasibility study and a further consultation as soon as possible.”

Royal London’s director of policy Steve Webb said: “It is a real step forward that the government has indicated that state pension data will be included in the design of what it calls ‘pension dashboards’. This greatly increases the prospect of dashboards which cover all the key pension information which consumers need to know.

“The additional £5m a year for the DWP in 2019/20 is also a welcome symbol of the fact that the government is committed to taking this agenda forward, albeit more slowly than we would have wished,” he noted.

Clyde & Co head of pensions Mark Howard said "Despite some uncertainty over the last few weeks, the government is pushing forward with support for the pensions dashboard. (…) This will help many people reconnect with lost pensions and could lead to more pension saving."

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