Corbyn ‘most trusted on pensions’ – PMI poll

Jeremy Corbyn is the political party leader most trusted to safeguard people’s retirement and public opinion is turning against pension freedoms, a Populus survey for the Pensions Management Institute (PMI) has found.

The poll found 26 per cent consider Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn most trustworthy on pensions, ahead of the Prime Minister Theresa May on 21 per cent.

But 41 per cent of respondents didn’t trust any politician at all.

Confidence in Jeremy Corbyn was the highest among 18 to 24-year-olds, with 48 per cent of this group indicating they trusted him the most, while Theresa May was more trusted by the elderly, with 33 per cent of over 65s giving her the most credibility.

The poll found divisions over whether the pensions freedom and choice policy is a good thing. While it was received positively when launched in April 2015, the Populus poll shows 31 per cent think it is bad, compared to 29 per cent who think it is good, and 21 per cent have no opinion.

The survey found 64 per cent think that workplace pensions are a medium to low priority for the UK Government. The survey found 72 per cent of people are not aware of the incoming increases to pension contributions under the auto-enrolment scheme.

The general lack of confidence in the political establishment shown in the Populus poll reflects the findings of a separate survey of over 250 PMI members which found that the majority of pension professionals did not expect key ministerial figures to remain in post until the end of this Parliament. That poll found 57 per cent did not expect David Gauke MP, Secretary of State for Work & Pensions to see out the Parliament, with 59 per cent expecting Guy Opperman MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Pensions & Financial Inclusion to move on.

The poll of pension professionals reflects the divided opinions over pension freedoms, with 43 per cent saying that freedom and choice has gone too far in allowing members too many cash options for DC pension schemes.

The Populus research also highlighted a widespread desire for greater simplification of pensions, with 76 per cent of people saying that the Government needs to do more to make pensions more straightforward. The vast majority of pension professionals – 73 per cent – said they are keen to see the creation of a standing Pensions Commission to help to depoliticise policy and avoid constant tinkering.

PMI president Robert Branagh says: “Despite all of the political commentary coming out of the party conferences, it is clear that our political leaders still have some work to do to simplify pensions further and help people understand and engage with their long term retirement provision better.

“As we approach the phasing stages of auto-enrolment, there is clearly still work to be done to educate and inform people what is happening. There is a real danger that Brexit and other major issues facing our political leaders, will result in pensions taking too much of a back seat on the political agenda and with their eye off the ball, all of the good work done to date establishing a new savings culture under this system could be undone.

“It is critical therefore that all parties work together and commit the time required to ensure the future success of the pension system in the U.K.”