New UK pension rules delayed in bitter blow for millions of workers

A pensions shake-up has been delayed - in a blow to UK workers. Under current rules, you are auto-enrolled into your workplace pension scheme when you are aged 22 and older and you earn above £10,000 - but this is due to be lowered to 18.

But the changes are set to be pushed back in a "deeply disappointing" move. Pensions Minister Paul Maynard said a consultation will take place in the “mid to later part of this decade. We do need to consult further on the detailed implementation of any measures that increase contributions.

"I know there’s great eagerness that we get on with this, but we have to do it in the right way at the right time. We are committed to doing so during the mid to later part of this decade.” Kate Smith, Head of Pensions at Aegon, said: “I’m deeply disappointed that the Pensions Minister has confirmed that 2017 reforms of auto-enrolment implementation consultation will be delayed to the mid or late 2020s.

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"We have been expecting this consultation for over six months now, ever since the Pensions Act enabling these reforms, passed back in September 2023. Once implemented, this will widen the scope of auto-enrolment by lowering the minimum age from 22 to 18 and removing the salary offset so pension contributions are made from the first pound, once the reforms are implemented.

"This is bad news for pension savers, particularly low earners, who are disproportionately women. As time marches on, and with an election looming, it could be over ten years on from the 2017 review before changes start to be implemented, with potentially millions of employees losing out on higher pension contributions and facing poorer retirement income outcomes.”

The government has previously stated that it would implement the 2017 AE reforms in the mid-2020s. Mr Maynard said it was a "work in progress."