Take-up of pensions guidance and advice

Backbench business debate
Nigel Mills MP

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On Tuesday 1 March, Nigel Mills MP led a backbench business debate on the take-up of pensions guidance and advice. To inform his debate, he asked to hear about the public's experiences.

"I am grateful to all who helped me prepare for this debate and sent me useful briefings, particularly the House of Commons Chamber Engagement Team, which conducted an online survey of people’s lived experience."
Nigel Mills MP

Many thanks to the over 1700 people from across the UK who filled in the survey.

Some contributors were quoted directly during the debate:

Watch the full debate:

Link to watch debate on Parliament Live TV

You can also read the transcript on Hansard

If you contributed to this exercise, please give us feedback:

The Government's response

Work and Pensions Minister Guy Opperman MP responded to the debate on behalf of the Government.

Watch or read his full speech for details on topics including:

Government consultation on the draft Pensions Dashboards Regulations 2022

  • The MoneyHelper pension service (formerly Pensions Advisory Service) 
  • New government measures coming into force on 1 June, which will require pension schemes to offer to book a Pension Wise appointment on behalf of an individual when they seek to access their defined contribution savings

The “Stronger Nudge to pensions guidance” government consultation – consultation outcome and government response

  • The Pensions Schemes Act 2021

Introducing the debate, he gave the following statement:

"I am leading this debate to request that the Government support or sponsor trials to default people nearing retirement age into the free Pension Wise service provided by the Money and Pensions Service.
"Take up is currently very low, and while the Financial Conduct Authority have plans to increase it a little, there’s no target set and I have no expectation that they will get to any sizeable level. 
"If access to the service isn’t improved, some people may get scammed out of their savings, but probably a bigger cohort just opt for the easiest decision without understanding the range of options open to them. 
"If you are retired, or close to retirement, I’m keen to hear about your experiences: Do you feel you understand the options available to you when it comes to drawing your pension? Has your pension provider signposted you to Pension Wise? How would you address any issues related to pensions advice and guidance?
"Anything you find time to share will be very helpful for me to reflect on ahead of my debate on 1 March. Many thanks."
Nigel Mills MP
Nigel Mills MP

Your feedback

"I am passionate about the MPs having real life testimony of issues rather than using assumptions or just their own knowledge.
"I felt honoured to have been quoted!
"[I told] anyone who would listen.  They were pleased that Parliament are listening to actual constituents using quotes rather than general discussion without the direct reference of something someone else has said.
"I've realised that this should happen much more than it does.  I enjoy the knowledge that MPs are seeking the understanding from others on a topic to provide healthy debate and true accounts of experiences.  
"[Parliament] has 100% relevance to my life, policy shapes our whole environment so it truly needs to be guided by members of the public."
Charlotte, East Midlands
"It's good to get points across to the right people and hopefully make a difference.
"I have discussed this with my wife and she thinks it's a great idea to be involved as it could make a difference or affect other people's lives.
"The work of Parliament is of great importance to all of us and change can happen if we all get involved, so MPs can get a real picture of the lives of the working people."
Richard, Wales

How it works

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What is a backbench business debate?

Backbench business debates give backbenchers (MPs who aren’t ministers or shadow ministers) an opportunity to secure a debate on a topic of their choice, either in the Chamber or Westminster Hall.

MPs can make a request for a debate to the Backbench Business Committee, who hears and decides which debates to schedule.

Backbench debates can either be general debates (which do not end in a vote) or be on a substantive motion (which calls for an action and can end in a vote).

This debate will be a general debate.

MPs' Guide to Procedure: Backbench Business Committee debates.

How your contributions are shared

In these exercises, members of the public who have signed relevant petitions are invited to share their experiences and ideas.

These are passed on to the MP leading the debate, who may refer to them directly in their speeches.

Find other petitions on the Petitions website, or see more examples of public contributions being used in debates below.

What happens next?

If you shared your email in the survey, we’ll send you an update after the debate with links to watch it, read the transcript, and information about the Government's response.

House of Commons Library

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The Library is a research and information service based in the UK Parliament. Its impartial analysis, statistical research and resources help MPs and their staff scrutinise legislation, develop policy, and support constituents.

Some recent publications are listed below. See the latest research and analysis on pensions at commonslibrary.parliament.uk.

Work and Pensions Select Committee

A cross-party committee of 11 MPs that looks into the policies and spending of the Department for Work and Pensions, including benefits for people in and out of work, state pensions and how private pensions are regulated. It also scrutinises DWP’s public bodies and other regulators. 

Find out more about the Committee’s membership and role.

Relevant inquiries from the Committee:

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Photo credit: UK Parliament / Jessica Taylor