Figures released recently by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) show that a total of more than £9.2 billion has been released from pension pots since new freedoms were introduced in April 2015.
The figures show that in the three months to January 2017, more than 1.5 million payments were made using the new pensions freedoms, with £1.56 billion being accessed by 162,000 people.
Simon Kirby, the Economic Secretary to the Treasury, said: “Giving people freedom over what they do with their hard-earned savings, whether it’s buying an annuity or taking a cash lump sum, is the right thing to do.
“These figures show that people continue to take advantage of the choices on offer: choices only made available since the Government’s landmark pensions freedoms were introduced in April 2015.
“We are working with our partner, including Pension Wise, the regulators and pension firms; so that savers have the support they need to understand the options available to them.”
In further welcome news for pension savers, at the Autumn Statement in November 2016, the Chancellor announced a consultation on proposals to tackle pension scams. The proposed measures include:
- Banning pensions cold calling
- Giving more powers to firms to block suspicious transfers, preventing people’s lifesavings being transferred into scams without any checks
- Making it harder for scammers to open fraudulent self-administered pension schemes using a dormant company.