UK to lift contribution cap, other limits on flagship pension scheme

LONDON Tue Jul 9, 2013 4:16pm BST

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LONDON (Reuters) - Britain will remove contribution limits and other restrictions on the pension scheme it set up when it made company pensions mandatory by 2017, giving employers a cheaper way to provide the benefit for more workers.

The National Employment Savings Trust (NEST) has been criticised for capping the amount workers can save, forcing larger firms to offer their own company pension plans in order to provide schemes for high and low earners alike.

Britain's Work and Pensions Committee said in February that lifting NEST limits should not be delayed until April 2017, when all employees must be automatically enrolled in pension schemes.

The parliamentary committee said workers earning more than 60,000 pounds ($90,000) a year would be excluded from the scheme.

The 4,400 pounds a year savings cap will be lifted and employees will also be able to consolidate separate pension pots into one when they move jobs, pensions minister Steve Webb said in a statement.

A poll of large employers by industry body JLT Employee Benefits found that 75 percent wanted the restrictions removed.

"This is good for consumers and supports the success of auto-enrolment," JLT Employee Benefits director Hugh Nolan said.

NEST had 200,000 members by the end of May 2013, up from 100,000 the previous month, according to government figures.

(Reporting by Sarah Mortimer; Editing by Louise Ireland)

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