66,000 of region’s employers must plan for pensions changes

Charles Counsell 
The Pensions Regulator
www.brightontogs.com   info@brightontogs.com
Charles Counsell The Pensions Regulator www.brightontogs.com info@brightontogs.com
Have your say

AROUND 66,000 employers in Yorkshire and the Humber must comply with automatic pension enrolment over the next 12 months, according to a senior figure at The Pensions Regulator.

Charles Counsell, The Pensions Regulator’s executive director of automatic enrolment, said that around 30,800 employers in Yorkshire and the Humber have already complied with automatic enrolment, a measure which is being introduced in stages as part of a strategy to reduce the number of Britons facing hardship in old age. Mr Counsell said that the 66,000 firms will range in size, and may just employ one person, but the firms must still check their duties under auto-enrolment.

Small and micro employers are being encouraged to engage at an early stage with automatic enrolment to avoid the risk of a fine, after the latest quarterly figures showed a rise in the number of penalties.

The Pensions Regulator used its powers 4,489 times in connection with non-compliance with automatic enrolment during the last quarter, compared with 4,161 in the previous three months.

The rise was in line with expectations after the number of employers reaching their deadline to comply rose sharply at the start of 2016, The Pensions Regulator said.

It’s four years this month since the first large employers reached their automatic enrolment “staging dates”.

Since then, more than 6.5 million workers have been put into a pension scheme, with around a million of those working for small or micro employers.

Mr Counsell and his team are rolling out a new policy to around 1.3 million employers.

Mr Counsell told The Yorkshire Post that around 64 per cent of UK adults were saving into a pension in 2015, compared with around 42 per cent in 2010.

He added: “We have a population where people are living much longer - you can expect to live for 20 years in retirement on average, and that’s increasing.

“This is all about helping people to save for their retirement, so they have a dignified standard of living. Our research indicates that the majority of employers support the principle of this.”

“Small employers are so important to us all - we have been trying to simplify this as much as we possibly can.”

A spokesman for The Pensions Regulator said: “Around 20 per cent of employers have gone through automatic enrolment so far since the start of the roll out. The roll out continues until 2018.”

Mr Counsell urged companies to visit the Pensions Regulators’ website and look at the “duties checker” which tells employers when their staging date is.

He added: “Duties checker takes five minutes to complete - but our message is, ‘Don’t leave it too late - start to prepare for the duties as soon as you can.’”

The step by step guide showing what employers need to do to comply with the law can be found at www.thepensionsregulator.gov.uk/en/employers