Pensions for teens: Government wants to extend auto-enrolment for young people

 
Lynsey Barber
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Workplace pension scheme will be extended (Source: Getty)

The government wants to get nearly one million young people to start saving for the future by extending pensions auto-enrolment to 18-year-olds.

Plans to extend the scheme will fall short of forcing five million self-employed to do the same but "targeted interventions" will be identified to get them saving.

The Department of Work and Pensions will make the recommendations as part of a major review into the auto-enrolment scheme and get people saving for retirement.

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“This government has rebuilt the UK’s savings culture. For an entire generation of people, workplace pension saving is the new normal. And my mission now is to make sure the next generation of younger workers have the same opportunities," said secretary of state for work and pensions David Gauke.

"We are committed to enabling more people to save while they are working, so that they can enjoy greater financial security when they retire. We know the world of work is changing, so it is only right that pension saving does too. This ambitious package will see more people than ever before helped onto the path towards building a secure retirement.”

However, the change to a minimum age (currently over 21) and other changes risks burdening small firms with even more costs, some warned.

"Requiring employers to contribute from the first pound of earnings, will mean that, by 2019, hundreds of thousands of small employers will have to pay up to £180 more per employee each year. For employers in certain sectors, such as care and hospitality, where margins are tight this will really add up," said national chairman of the Federation of Small Business Mike Cherry.

“On top of these rising costs, the smallest businesses are only now falling into the scheme for the first time. They will be relieved that headline contribution rates will remain unchanged for now," he added.

Read more: It's official: The UK's state pension is the least generous in the OECD

The CBI said: "Today's report shows how far we have come, and makes some sensible suggestions about how to evolve the system in the future. But much of the original plan is still to be delivered, with contribution rates rising over the next two years. For firms who are facing rising costs across the board - and employees with other legitimate calls on their income - it is right to complete this first phase and let it bed in before making further changes. A timeline of the mid-2020s for the suggestions made today would be sensible and enjoy business support.”

The government estimates that 900,000 18 to 21-year-olds would be brought into the workplace pension scheme saving £800m

‚ÄčThe intervention in encouraging the growing number of self-employed - around 15 per cent of the UK workforce - to start saving for retirement will come in the form of tests with organisations such as banks and experiments with technology.

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