Reading time: 6 minutes

The Autumn Statement 2023: My Pension Expert’s Wishlist

The leaves are falling and the days are growing shorter, which means it’s nearly time for the Autumn Statement 2023! It’s certainly been a turbulent year in terms of finance and the rumours are already growing about what Chancellor Jeremy Hunt will, or possibly won’t, announce.

This annual event provides a comprehensive overview of the Government’s economic plans, policies, and projections for the coming months. Of course, our main concerns revolve around how the Chancellor chooses to approach pension policy.

And as you would expect, we at My Pension Expert have some thoughts about what we’d like to see announced on 22nd November…

Triple Lock Clarification

A year ago, in the last Autumn Statement, the Triple Lock was re-instated, which was a relief to millions after previously being scrapped. However, what we would like to see this year is more clarity on how the Government is keeping it sustainable in the long run.

There are various options which have been thrown into the ring over this past year. Concepts such as reducing the triple lock to a double lock, for example, or even scrapping it all together, have been hotly debated amongst stakeholders. However, the Government (and Opposition) have remained notably vague about Triple Lock promises. As such, we would like to see the Government offer clarity on their exact plans for the Triple Lock – at least then, pensioners will know where they stand and feel more able to plan accordingly.

Answer questions about the Lifetime Allowance 

If you can cast your mind way back to the Spring budget, it was announced that the Lifetime Allowance charges were due to be scrapped. Of course, My Pension Expert had some thoughts on the policy, which we discussed at length in a previous blog. However, since the announcement, doubt has been cast over whether it will be implemented before the next election.

Indeed, affordability of the Triple Lock have raised questions as to whether the policy might be delayed. Elsewhere, the Labour Party were very clear that should they be elected, they would reinstate the LTA cap. As such, we believe that the Chancellor must use the Statement as an opportunity to clarify whether the LTA will definitely be introduced in the next financial year. Doing so will provide savers with the ability to plan and adapt their retirement strategy accordingly.

Supporting saver engagement

Within the Mansion House reforms earlier this year, Chancellor Jeremy Hunt revealed his ambitions for pension schemes in the UK and how these could boost the economy, whilst simultaneously boosting Britons’ pension savings. Of course, this is a step in the right direction; we at My Pension Expert will always welcome moves to improve people’s retirement outcomes.

However, we want to ensure that savers and retirement planners remain central to this policy, as it’s them it’ll be directly affecting. As such, we’d like to see the Chancellor announce further measures to help savers engage with their pensions, so they can better understand what these changes mean for them. Putting measures in place to improve access to pension information or independent financial advice would certainly benefit savers. After all, without helping people to understand the changes the Government intends to make, Britons gaping engagement gap will only grow wider – which could worsen outcomes in the long term.

Pension Bill Progress?

Earlier this week, it was assumed the Pensions bill was going to receive royal ascension during the King’s Speech, giving it a positive impact.  However, surprisingly, it wasn’t mentioned at all. Without the royal backing, it’s casting doubt about exactly how much change the Government can do. And this means some beneficial policies, such as the extension of autoenrollment , could face an indefinite setback.   

Arguably, this could give the Government more time to get into their plan’s finer details and announce them when they’re completed. However, clarity as to the status of the Pensions Bill would certainly be useful for many pension planners.

Long term, sustainable planning for the pension sector

Just when you thought things couldn’t get any more dramatic, there’s been a revolving door of cabinet ministers this past week. Notably for us, the Pensions Minister, Laura Trott, was promoted to a Treasury role and Paul Maynard taking her place as Pensions Minister. And given the various major projects underway within the Department of Work and Pensions –the delivery of the Pension Dashboard, Autoenrollment considerations and addressing the issue of Small Pots to name a few – we can’t help but wish consistent leadership within pension policy.

With this in mind, one of our biggest hopes is that the Government avoids its usual approach of ‘tweaking’ the pension policy. Throughout the years there have been minor changes that add layers making it overly complicated. If there are changes to be made, make them substantial. We also hope to see a cross-party collaboration on these changes, keeping them sustainable should there be a change of Government in the near future.

How we can help you

Indeed, we would love for pensions to be the most discussed subject, but regardless of what is confirmed, just know that you’re not alone with your pension.

The Government backs a service that offers free guidance to those over the age of 50 called Pension-Wise. The guidance explains some of the more common pension products available as well as explaining how other things, such as tax, affect your savings.

Of course, guidance is just that, a guide. For a clear, detailed look into your personal circumstances and the goals you could achieve with your savings, a financial adviser will be on hand to help like the team here, at My Pension Expert.