Trials to find a pension saving solution for the self-employed, which were expected to start this year, will be delayed.
In a written response to parliament, pensions minister Guy Opperman said there is “no simple or straightforward mechanism” to bring the self-employed into pensions saving, “nor is there any consensus or evidence about the best approach”.
He said the government will be conducting feasibility work before providing more information about the trial areas later this year.
In its auto-enrolment review in December 2017, the government said it would begin testing interventions for self-employed pension savings 2018, with a view to evaluating them in 2019.
The review found that while pension participation rates have risen for employed workers since the introduction of auto-enrolment, they decreased for the self-employed from 23% in 2009/10 to 17% in 2015/16.
It also identified around 2 million self-employed workers who would meet the criteria for auto-enrolment if they were employed, but are at risk of undersaving for retirement.
More recent research by the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed found that 67% of self-employed people are concerned about preparing financially for later life, but only 31% are paying into a pension.
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