Fund new start-ups from pension pots, IoD urges

Older entrepreneurs should be allowed to dip into their pension pot without a tax penalty to fund a new business, a lobby group has suggested.

The Institute of Directors (IoD) said the government should let older people withdraw up to 10 per cent of their pension pot tax-free to get a start-up going, reports The BBC.

Younger workers should also receive tax relief to pay for training, it said.

The government brought in major reforms allowing people to access their pension from the age of 55, subject to tax.

The IoD suggested that these reforms should now be extended to support a more flexible, ageing population.

“People in their 60s now are on the front line of the shifting boundaries between work and retirement,” said Lady Barbara Judge, who chairs the IoD.

“The government should consider introducing tax incentives to encourage people to pursue their ideas and invest in training, so that they can continue to have fulfilling working lives beyond the age expected by previous generations.”

Since 2015, the government has allowed anyone aged 55 and over to take 25 per cent of their pension pot as a tax-free lump sum.

They can also cash in the rest of their pension pot, but this is subject to the normal rates of income tax.

A recent report by the City regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority, suggested that withdrawing money from pension pots had become the “new norm”.

However, the pensions industry disputed that claim. The Association of British Insurers (ABI) said 100,000 people took money out of their pension pots every quarter, which was small compared to the 4.7 million people over the age of 55 who left their pots untouched.

The IoD said that older entrepreneurs – which it does not define by a specific age – should be allowed to withdraw a further 10 per cent of their pension pot to fund starting up a new business, within the same tax year. This would be in addition to the existing 25 per cent tax-free allowance.

This would be policed by pension providers, the IoD suggested.

It also proposed that the government allow people to pay for training during their working lives from their gross pay, in a similar scheme to childcare vouchers or cycle to work salary sacrifice schemes.

The Treasury said it would outline any tax measures during a Budget, so it would not comment directly on the IoD’s proposals.