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Online pension dashboard could be scrapped

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Plans to introduce an online hub which would allow savers to view all their pension savings, including their state pension, in one place could be ditched by the government, according to reports.

The creation of a pensions dashboard was originally announced by then Chancellor George Osborne in 2016, who said it would be up and running in 2019.

It was hoped that allowing people to see all their pensions in one place would encourage them to engage with their retirement pot and seek better value for money.

But a report in The Times suggests Esther McVey, the work and pensions secretary, has moved to “kill off the project”.

The report says McVey believes the pensions dashboard “should not be provided by the state” and “would be a distraction from efforts to roll out universal credit”.

The Association of British Insurers (ABI), which has created a prototype pensions dashboard on behalf of the Treasury, said shelving the initiative would let down many savers.

Huw Evans, director general, said: “It is vital the government stands by its promises on the pension dashboard. To abandon it would be a huge let down to millions of savers, leaving them unable to find the money they have saved and even exposing them to fraud.

“This is an initiative with cross-party support, backed by consumer groups, which is a win-win for everyone. The pensions industry is committed to helping but we need government involvement to ensure the system works fairly for everyone.”

Andy Tarrant, head of policy at The People’s Pension, said: “At a time when 14 million people are at risk of not having enough to live on when they retire, it’s astonishing that an initiative aimed at helping millions of people to live comfortably in retirement, could be seen as a distraction by government.

“The government should be doing everything possible to help people plan ahead. The dashboard has real potential to revolutionise retirement planning for millions of people across the UK and we urge the government not to u-turn on their previously strong support for the initiative.”

Tom Selby, senior analyst at pension firm AJ Bell, said: “There is also a broader issue here of trust between the government and the pensions industry. It was the government that told the industry it needed to develop a workable pensions dashboard model and deliver it by 2019. Huge amounts of time, effort and money have been dedicated by Association of British Insurers members to make that happen, with wide engagement from platforms, charities, advice firms and others.

“If the DWP [Department for Work and Pensions ] is now going to pull the plug at the eleventh hour then the industry will legitimately question whether involvement in future such projects is really worth it.”

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