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Pensions dashboard ‘useless’ if government won’t share state pension data

Paloma Kubiak
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Paloma Kubiak

The government has not committed to sharing state pension data for the much-anticipated pensions dashboard putting a question mark over how useful the online hub will be for savers.

Work and Pensions Secretary Esther McVey announced last night that the government is backing industry to deliver the pensions dashboard – a platform allowing savers to view all their pension savings in one place.

McVey said: “By taking a leading role, and harnessing their knowledge, industry can develop a dashboard that works for pensions holders – and government will help facilitate this.”

But the government has not confirmed whether it will pass on state pension data to make the scheme truly all encompassing. Without the government’s lead, there’s also concern some providers will not share their data with the industry.

A Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) spokesperson, said: “People can access the online ‘Check your State Pension’ service through GOV.UK to get a forecast of their state pension, where they can get information about how they may be able to improve it, as well as view their National Insurance contribution record.

“The Check Your State Pension has provided more than nine million online estimates since 2016. As part of our feasibility work we have been considering the industry group project’s recommendation that state pension data should be available in a dashboard alongside private pension information.”

More clarity needed

Laura Suter, personal finance analyst at AJ Bell, said: “An incomplete pensions dashboard is not going to be of use to anyone so it’s important the government commits to ensuring the state pension is included and uses its powers to ensure a critical mass of pension schemes sign-up to the initiative so that it delivers meaningful benefits to pension savers.”

Jon Greer, head of retirement policy at Quilter, said more clarity is needed as “we’re in murky water when it comes to what the dashboard will actually look like”.

He said: “Government cannot wipe their hands of the project as a pension dashboard without all the data would be as useful as a recipe with only some of the ingredients listed.

“The DWP still needs to take responsibility for ensuring data is protected and that all relevant pension information, including state and public sector pensions is included.

“It remains unclear whether government will legislate to force providers to share their data and some providers may not see it as a priority, meaning the goal of portraying people’s full pension savings will remain a dream rather than reality.”

DWP said as part of its feasibility study it is considering timescales as the original launch date for the pensions dashboard was 2019 – another point commentators have called into question.

The feasibility study will be published in due course, the DWP said.