NAPF conference: Government confirms auto-enrolment timetable

The coalition government has confirmed it will go ahead with auto-enrolment according to its existing timetable.

Speaking at the National Association of Pensions Fund annual conference, pensions minister Steve Webb said the coalition is committed to auto-enrolment, although the finer details are still under review. “We are going to do it and do it to the timetable we are committed to as we do not want any further delay.

“We want to see if there is anything [we can do] to improve auto-enrolment from how we have inherited it, but we want to get on with it.”

Any changes to the scope of auto-enrolment will be included in the 2011 Pensions and Savings Act, which was announced in this year’s Queen’s Speech and is due to be unveiled in the first half of next year.

However, Webb would not elaborate whether the government intended to go ahead with plans for the national employment savings trust (Nest) set out by the former Labour government. But he indicated an announcement is imminent. “We asked our review team to work out if the scope for auto-enrolment was right. It was not a Nest review, it was a making auto-enrolment work review. There are contractual reasons why we have to come to a decision [on Nest] quickly.

“If [the review] comes to a different answer on the scope of auto-enrolment than before, than [it may ask] do you need Nest? Whatever we do, we need to ensure employers have somewhere they can auto-enrol employees into.”

He added the government is keen to ensure the pension reforms come into effect as planned in 2012. “We do not want 2012 to happen in 2013,” he said.

Read more articles on the national employment savings trust (Nest)