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Pensions minister predicts a much brighter pensions future

The pensions minister, Steve Webb, has admitted the current situation on state and occupational pensions is "wholly inadequate", but claims the "glass is half full" and predicted a much brighter pensions landscape in the future.

Addressing delegates at the National Association of Pension Funds (NAPF) Conference in Liverpool, Webb said: "The future of workplace pensions is critical. The state pension of £97.65 per week is wholly inadequate. But we have to get the state pension right or everything else becomes a lot more difficult.

"State pensions are shockingly, appallingly complicated and we can do better than this.

"I am proud to have linked state pensions to earning for the first time in 30 years. We are beginning to put in the floor, but mostly we are stopping the rot when it comes to the decline of the state pension. But even if we fix the state pension, we still have to do a lot more on top of that."

Webb confirmed the Government’s commitment to auto-enrolment in 2012 and reiterated that it would put the system in place as per the already agreed timetable.

He said employers already offering an adequate scheme fit for auto-enrolment in the certification scheme would be "as light touch as possible".

He added: "It is encouraging we have high-quality defined-contribution schemes in the UK. We need to get out of the ‘DB good, DC bad’ mindset."

And he concluded: "We will announce shortly the laws round the state pension age, but we will look at the big picture when it comes to pensions. The glass is half full and I look forward to a much brighter pensions landscape in the future."