Blunkett keen on ‘opt-out’ pension plans

Pensions minister David Blunkett yesterday unveiled guidelines to encourage firms to adopt ‘opt-out’ rather than ‘opt-in’ pension schemes whereby workers will automatically be entered into a company scheme unless they explicitly request to be left out.

It is thought the initiative could be a first step towards compulsory pensions for all.

Speaking at the launch of Fabian Society pamphlet, The Politics of Pensions Reform, by research director Richard Brooks and former pensions minister John Denham, Blunkett said the decision to encourage a shift in attitude was taken after research showed that firms with opt-out schemes had 30% higher membership of their pension plans.

On the issue of women and pensions, Blunkett said the current poor deal for women, many of whom take career breaks, would be addressed this autumn as part of a “national pensions debate”.

With figures showing that women are far less likely to have a full state pension or private savings, there are plans to introduce new tax credits and other reforms to address the problem.

Treasury minister Stephen Timms said the government was also developing a package of measures aimed at encouraging mothers back into the workplace.

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