The government has confirmed it will introduce multiple so-called pension dashboards, with the first hoped to come into effect next year, giving savers the ability to access access their pension information for several schemes at once on their smartphone.
Publishing a consultation on the measure this morning, however, the government could not confirm state pensions would be included. But pensions minister Guy Opperman said this was only because HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), who held the required data, would have to create the interface, rather than his own Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).
"The infrastructure is quite a bit of kit," he said, and HMRC was "a bit busy at the moment" with Brexit planning.
The government has committed to forcing pension schemes to provide data to consumers via the dashboard, Opperman added.
This was vital for providing comprehensive coverage, he added, as evidence from other countries that had implemented similar bills but made the measure voluntary for pension providers indicated that they wouldn't sign up "unless there was compulsion".
The scheme would be funded in part by levies to the pensions industry, as well as using £5m extra DWP funding provided by Philip Hammond in the October budget.
Yvonne Braun, director of long-term savings policy at the Association of British Insurers, said the dashboards had the potential to reunite people with an estimated £20bn in lost pension money.
Chairman of the work and pensions committee Frank Field helda meeting with business chiefs on the issue last week, before raising concerns over the dashboard's security in a letter to Opperman.
He said: "There is a risk that, without appropriate regulation, a dashboard could make it easier for consumers to fall victim to scams or bad practice. Data security mechanisms and regulatory protection must be in place before the dashboard goes live."
But Field added today: "It’s hugely welcome that the government is at last pressing ahead with this crucial project. For dashboards to work for consumers, the right protections must be in place from day one—the committee will be keeping a watching brief on the government’s plans as they take shape."
Speculation around the pensions dashboard scheme has been swirling around for some time, with a prototype being promised as early as 2016.
But today marks the first concrete forecast for when such a dashboard may come into effect, accompanied by a feasibility report put out by DWP this morning which forms the starting point for public consultation on how it should be put in place.
Opperman said it would “revolutionise the way we all think about and plan for later life”.
“Now the Government is seeking views about what the new services will look like and how they will work. Consumer protection and safeguarding data will be top priorities.”