Fixing the Retirement Lottery

Report type
Research and reports
Issue date
27 Feb 2018
Key findings

In this report we set out a range of policy options including:

  • Greater urgency in implementing agreed reforms, such as the move to calculate pension contributions from the first pound of earnings.
  • Bringing more low earners (notably women) into the pensions system by abolishing the £10,000 earnings trigger for automatic enrolment.
  • The need for government to set out a route map to improve contribution rates over the long term.
  • Changes to pensions regulation to make it easier for open defined benefit schemes to remain open.
  • Introduction of regulations to allow Collective Defined Contribution pension schemes.
  • A crackdown on costs in pension schemes by ensuring that charges are transparent and pension schemes have the scale and power to drive down prices.
  • The introduction of default pathways at retirement, to make it easy for retirees to secure a good standard of living in old age

At the heart of the TUC's approach to pensions is the belief that what people seek more than anything for their retirement is security and stability. And that for most of today’s workers, their ability to provide for themselves in their old age is a lottery. 

This report began life as a series of blogs on the TUC website and has been informed by feedback from both within and without the trade union movement.

It focuses on our system of workplace provision. It is here where government policy is unfinished. And it is here that there is the greatest potential for improvement.

This reports sets out the flaws in the current system:

  • The employment lottery that means that workers in some sectors have decent provision, while in many others large numbers are excluded from pensions or receive very little.
  • The investment lottery that means that someone who retires in a good year for investment markets can be many thousands of pounds a year better off than an otherwise identical saver who leaves in a bad year.
  • The risks for individuals of a retirement income system that provides no clear route for securing a lifetime income.