Millions could face pension hardship as Labour urged to take 'definitive action'

A worried male pensioner checks his household bills
-Credit: (Image: Getty Images)

A Labour review of pensions is "vital" to prevent millions from facing hardship in their later years, analysts said. Sir Keir Starmer's new government is being urged to take "definitive action" on retirement finances including ensuring the planned Pensions Dashboard stays on track following previous setbacks.

The dashboard should allow people to see all their pension information, including their State Pension, for free in one place online and is also intended to reunite people with any lost or forgotten policies. At present, pension providers are expected to connect to the new system from April 2025 and it is set to be fully operational by the end of October 2026. Occupational (workplace) pensions will be linked to the dashboard from January 2026.

State Pension entitlement will also be displayed on the dashboard, giving people an idea of what they'll get from the DWP and what additional planning and saving they may need to do. Finance experts have urged Labour to do all it can to transform the existing system for state, occupational, public service, money purchase, master trust and hybrid pension schemes.


Lily Megson, policy director at My Pension Expert said: "A Labour victory was as close to inevitable as you could get. Yet, Starmer and his party must not be complacent. Britons have experienced a great deal of financial hardship throughout the final years of Conservative governance. Financial planning – particularly retirement planning – has been an uphill battle for many Britons.

"As such, it is vital that the incoming government work rapidly to ensure economic stability. Further, pension policy must be airtight. Leading the party's plans for pension policy is a comprehensive pensions review – a much-needed initiative that should be a top priority.

"With millions not saving adequately for retirement, the review must result in reforms that improve access to financial education, boost pension engagement, and simplify savers' experience of the sector. Indeed, closing the engagement gap must be top of the agenda for the new government."

She added: "One way the new government can simplify the pension system is by supporting the timely rollout of the Pensions Dashboards, which have faced significant delays under Westminster's predecessors. Additionally, the government must enforce greater scrutiny and accountability for providers imposing excessive transfer delays.

"Above all, what we need is for the new government to actually deliver on its promises to transform pensions. Appointing a dedicated pensions minister with a clear action plan will be a crucial first step toward providing Britons with the knowledge and tools they need to achieve financial security in retirement. After a long period of instability and disillusionment, now is the time for definitive action. Your move, Labour."

Labour has so far said it will retain the triple lock used to calculate annual increases in the State Pension and has pledged to review the pensions system as a whole.

Information it published ahead of the General Election said: "A Labour government will protect the triple lock on pensions and review the current state of the pensions and retirement savings landscape, to check if the current framework can deliver sustainable retirement incomes for people. We will also give the Pensions Regulator new powers to intervene where schemes fail to offer sufficient value for their members."

It also said: "We will support pensioners and give them the dignity and security they deserve in retirement. We will introduce tough spending roles to keep mortgages, inflation and taxes as low as possible. Delivering economic stability is our first step for change."

Liz Kendall, Labour's Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, had said ahead of the party's election win and prior to her new DWP appointment: "Retirement should be a time we all look forward to, but more pensioners than ever are renting into retirement, their children are returning home because they're locked out of the housing market and soaring childcare costs mean pensioners are taking on more responsibilities they weren't expecting.

"My message to pensioners at this general election is simple – look at your wallet, look at the quality of your healthcare and look at the lack of housing for your children and grandchildren and ask yourself, is this as good as it gets?"

Ms Megson says she and other analysts are now keenly waiting to see what improvements will be introduced by Labour to the existing pensions system.

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