Experts call on govt for better pension support for self-employed

Industry experts have called on the government to provide better pension provision support for those in self-employment, after data from the Office for National Statistics revealed the number of self-employed people has now passed 5 million.

The labour market figures showed that, over the last year, the number of self-employed people increased by 145,000, and now represent a total of 15.2 per cent of all people in employment.

Self-employed people are typically the most disadvantaged when it comes to retirement savings, with a survey by NFU Mutual finding that 77 per cent of self-employed people do not pay into a pension at all.

Commenting on the increase, Aegon pensions director, Steven Cameron, said: “While auto-enrolment has meant millions of additional employees are now saving into workplace pensions, the self-employed, who are not automatically enrolled and don’t benefit from the valuable employer contributions, remain out in the cold and find themselves at a significant disadvantage in their pension savings”.

Industry experts have now called on the government to better support those in self-employment, arguing that it is an issue they “can no longer afford”.

Royal London pension specialist, Helen Morrissey, commented: “The government can no longer afford to ignore self-employed people when it comes to pension provision.

"While auto-enrolment has helped more than 10 million people start building a retirement pot the self-employed have so far been chronically underserved.

"Government needs to move on from small scale pilots to look at ways of getting millions of self-employed people saving into pensions, including using new nudges via HMRC and the tax return process.”

Cameron echoed this, adding: “The government now need to advance previous proposal and ‘level-up’ pension provision for these workers who are excluded from auto-enrolment to make sure they are saving enough money for the quality of life they aspire to in retirement.”

The Liberal Democrat party was the only political party to address this issue in the recent election, promising a review of the pension rules for the self-employed.

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