Webb: UK government aiming to start auto-enrolment as planned

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  • Webb: UK government aiming to start auto-enrolment as planned

UK - UK pensions minister Steve Webb has reaffirmed the government's commitment to the National Employment Savings Trust (NEST) and said the current review of the system would not cause delays to its launch.

Speaking at a conference organised by the Association of British Insurers (ABI), Webb also said a "decent, basic state pension" was the foundation of a good pension system, especially in light of the industry's increasing shift to defined contribution.

Webb said of the coalition's plans for auto-enrolment: "You look at the coalition document. Page one, world peace. Page two, automatic enrolment to workplace pensions. It's in there for a reason, because we remain committed to it."

He defended the current review of NEST, saying it was to "make absolutely sure we've got it spot on".

He said this was necessary, as the original Turner Report that gave rise to the new auto-enrolment system took place five years ago.

He also pointed out that life expectancy had increased by a year in the time.

"The review team can absolutely come back to us and say 'The policy you inherited is the policy you should take forward'," he said.

Webb added that if NEST remained "as right an answer now as when we originally conceived of it", it would go ahead.

He said: "If they come back and say we need to look at changes to make it work differently, we will look at that as well."

However, he noted the current timetable for NEST, which will see select companies begin auto-enrolment next year, was not being reviewed.

"We don't want the timetable to slip," he said.

"One of the review members said to me the other day 'Adair Turner had three years. Why have I only got three months?' Because we don't want it to slip."

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