MPs concerned over AE for small firms

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The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has raised concern about the burden on small businesses as the automatic enrolment programme picks up pace.

So far 58,000 employers have put 5.4 million people into workplace pensions as a result of AE, but the committee of MPs said the real test for the initiative was starting as 1.8 million small firms enrol their staff.

Committee chairwoman Meg Hillier said: “Auto enrolment is entering a critical stage which will affect 1.8 million additional employers and their staff. It is vital people can understand, implement and have faith in the system.”

In the report MPs warned smaller employers have fewer resources to cope with the change than larger companies and simplifying the process will be critical to the success of the programme.

The committee added that The Pensions Regulator (TPR) did not have access to real time information that would help smooth the roll-out of the scheme to small firms.

MPs recommended that the DWP keep a close eye on the way the initiative was working and consider ways to simplify online tools developed to help businesses.

The committee also called on the government to clarify how smaller pension pots created as people move between employers will be treated. The report added: “There is a risk that people will be disappointed with their pension if they continue to pay minimum contribution rates.”

The PAC also raised concern that the government set up pension scheme NEST did not know when it will repay the £387m loan used for its establishment.

However Will Sandbrook, NEST’s executive director of strategy, said its financial position was secure.

He told AccountingWEB: “We are confident, as is the DWP, that the loan will be repaid in full and NEST will be delivered at nil cost to the taxpayer.”

AccountingWEB has launched the No-one gets left behind campaign to alert as many accountants as possible to the obligations implied by auto enrolment. Read our simple eight-point statement which sets out the auto enrolment facts you need to know.

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28th Jan 2016 12:12

If only a solution to the problem existed. ;)
Will, MD of Smart Pension, here. My thoughts on this report: Auto enrolment for the smallest employers was always going to be more difficult than the task of on-boarding larger businesses.  These micro firms and one-man-bands don't have HR departments or even dedicated staff to deal with the extra work.  Instead they will rely on online advice, accounting software and accountants for guidance on this. Regrettably the slow-moving pension industry hasn't quite moved with the times - and if you're not careful enrolment can still take days or weeks of paperwork and laborious checks - things that entrepreneurs just haven't got the time for. Harnessing time-saving tech, which links accounting software with payroll and vice versa is the only answer.  Smart Pension was built on these guiding principles.  With us, enrolling should take minutes not hours, ongoing contributions should be seamless and require very little ongoing time and effort and entrepreneurs can get on with the important job of running their business. 

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29th Jan 2016 14:10

Once I had worked in a very big corporation where everything was different, but now as an owner of this very small service company http://www.carpetcleaning-islington.co.uk I totally agree with you!

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29th Jan 2016 18:37

auto enrolment

I seem to have done a lot of reading and research on subject and read numerous articles.

It does appear over complicated and difficult to set up and implement.

I do worry that the take up going forward will be small and eventually will go the way of stakeholder pensions.

I am sure that with a bit more thought and planning a system could have been found that was easy to set up and use and encouraged people to think about their pensions.

As a owner of a small accountancy practice I do feel that my comments are valid as we do seem to be placed in a difficult situation trying to understand the system and help our small business clients to fulfill their obligations without any meaningful help available.

 

 

 

 

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02nd Feb 2016 09:38

Totally agree

smithaccounts wrote:

I seem to have done a lot of reading and research on subject and read numerous articles.

It does appear over complicated and difficult to set up and implement.

I do worry that the take up going forward will be small and eventually will go the way of stakeholder pensions.

I am sure that with a bit more thought and planning a system could have been found that was easy to set up and use and encouraged people to think about their pensions.

As a owner of a small accountancy practice I do feel that my comments are valid as we do seem to be placed in a difficult situation trying to understand the system and help our small business clients to fulfill their obligations without any meaningful help available.

 

 

 

 

Agree 100%.

Why did they not ask us, the small accountancy firms that will bear the brunt of all this nonsense before implementing such an unworkable scheme? (answers on a postage stamp!) which I might add all with no extra fees (despite what the government says about generating more revenue).

I still say, they should have just adjusted the NIC to take care of this, that way, everyone would pay something.  The way it is at the moment, everyone can "Opt out" and as I see it, many, many will and it will be all that work for nothing, priceless!!.

 

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02nd Feb 2016 10:47

auto enrolment

I agree I have always thought adding it onto NIC was the simple solution.

It could then have been attached to your NI number and would have resulted in no option but to contribute and would have followed you through your employment history.

 

I do think the take up going forward will decrease as even if you want to contribute the amounts paid in will not generate a pension pot of any significance.

 

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