Employers unaware of 2012 pension changes

Tuesday, 03 June 2008 12:02

Over half of businesses do not know about government plans to reform pensions, even though they will hit 966,000 firms in the UK.

The Pension Bill is getting its second reading in the House of Lords today, but the British Chambers of Commerce found 56 per cent of businesses reported being quite or completely unaware of the government’s plans for pension reform, revealing widespread ignorance of the changes.

From 2012 employers will be compelled to auto-enrol their employees into a qualifying pension scheme where they currently have no provision or their pension scheme is non-qualifying.

This will add to the employment costs of many firms, yet only six per cent of firms polled said they had received any information about the proposals and only 16 per cent claimed they were aware of when the changes are set to come into force.

In addition, just ten per cent of businesses surveyed knew how much the reforms would cost them – but the Department for Work and Pensions has estimated that the cost of the changes on small and medium sized businesses will be £1.6 billion.

David Frost, director general of the British Chambers of Commerce, said: “Given the radical changes proposed in the Bill, and an estimated £1.6 billion cost to small and medium sized enterprises, our survey results demonstrate just how important it is to ensure that all employers are made fully aware of their new obligations.

“Not enforcing the changes until 2012 is a smart move as it allows employers some time to phase in the reforms. But as our survey clearly shows, more action is needed to improve employer awareness so that businesses are not caught out and left unable to safely plan for their financial future.”

Sarah Routledge

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