Businesses warn government not to tinker with pensions tax

Companies crave stability on tax, policy and funding to boost pensions according to the latest survey of business leaders by the CBI and Mercer.

Almost eight out of ten respondents are against further changes in pension taxation, while the majority cited certainty as the Government’s top pension priority in this Parliament, as recent substantial reforms bed in.

The biennial survey also found costs of running defined benefit schemes still command board-level attention, with company chiefs keen to avoid increasing costs from future European policy changes.

The percentage of respondents identifying the need to make auto-enrolment administration easier leaped to nearly 70% compared with just 41% in 2013. Two thirds also cited changing regulation adding to the compliance burden. And the vast majority indicated that increasing take-up levels among employees for existing schemes must be a priority, rather than raising minimum contributions.

More than 160 businesses responded to the survey, including FTSE 100 companies and SMEs, together employing more than 500,000 employees, with a combined market capitalisation of £237bn. The survey is unique as it collects data from both the boardroom and pensions’ experts in respondent companies.

Neil Carberry, CBI Director of Employment and Skills, said: “Recent regulatory changes, coupled with auto-enrolment and state pension reform, mean UK business leaders now crave stability.

“Businesses want to focus on ensuring employees are making the most of what’s on offer, but there is clear concern about regulatory changes eroding incentives to save, which must be avoided at all costs.”