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‘Shameful’ as government misses pension cold calling ban deadline

Written by: Paloma Kubiak
The long-awaited ban on pension cold calling was due to take effect by the end of June but the date has been pushed back till later in the year.

The government has confirmed the ban on pension cold calling will be delayed until Autumn this year as it consults further on ‘technicalities’ relating to the policy.

However, it hasn’t specified what these ‘technicalities’ are.

Last August the government announced it would ban private pension cold calling, including emails and text messages to protect savers from unscrupulous scammers.

Although a much-needed policy to rid society of the scourge of nuisance and fraudulent calls, there was widespread criticism as no immediate date had been given for the ban to go ahead.

In December 2017, the Work and Pensions Select Committee called for a June 2018 implementation date.

In an amendment to the Financial Guidance and Claims Bill, the government announced an end of June 2018 deadline for pensions cold calling to be banned.

The regulations can only be brought into force once they’ve been debated by both Houses of Parliament and as the Commons isn’t sitting today, there’s no chance to make the June deadline.

Parliament will also rise for the summer recess on 24 July.

It now means the Secretary of State will need to explain to Parliament why the regulations haven’t been made, as well as set a timetable for implementation.

‘Hugely disappointing and frankly shameful’

Tom Selby, senior analyst at AJ Bell, said: “We have been waiting almost two years for the government to back up its tough talk on tackling pension scammers with action. It is therefore hugely disappointing that the cold-calling ban faces further delay as policymakers iron out as yet unspecified ‘technicalities’.

“Too many savers have already been fleeced out of their hard-earned retirement pots by scammers, with cold-calling one of the main tactics employed. The glacial pace of government action on this is frankly shameful and increases the risk of millions of savers being targeted using this method.”

Steve Webb, director of Policy at Royal London, added: “Campaigners had been hoping that the vital final stage in implementing a cold calling ban would have been completed by now. It is deeply disappointing that there is now going to be yet more delay. With every passing day yet more people are being scammed after a process which started with a cold call. We don’t want a statement from the government telling us how difficult it is – we want action and action now.”

An HM Treasury spokesperson, said: “We’re committed to introducing a ban on pensions cold calling as quickly as possible. Following debates in Parliament, and having considered evidence from the industry, we will launch a short consultation on the draft legislation to ensure it is as effective and robust as possible. We intend to lay the required regulations before Parliament this Autumn.”

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