The Treasury will not be proceeding with its proposals for accessing pensions before age 55. In the summary of responses to its December 2010 consultation (see Pensions Update, December 2010) the Government concludes that early access to pension savings should not be considered at the present time in view of the limited evidence that early access would have a positive impact on pension saving. Respondents were especially concerned that early access could undermine the purpose of providing an income in retirement and considered that all the proposed models would increase administrative burdens and costs, especially for DB schemes.  

If, once automatic enrolment has been fully phased in, some people decide to opt out and access to pensions savings is a significant factor, the Government may decide to revisit the issue. Early access inconsistent with retirement saving  

Meanwhile, it will instead investigate with the industry alternative retirement saving models to see if, e.g. “workplace ISAs, integrated pension and ISA platforms, and feeder fund arrangements… could be further facilitated within the existing pensions tax framework”.

It will also consider aligning the trivial commutation rules for personal pensions with those for occupational pension schemes.