Over half of UK businesses reported being quite or completely unaware of the Government's plans for far reaching pension reforms, according to a survey released by the British Chambers of Commerce.Ahead of the Pensions Bill's second reading in the House of Lords on Tuesday, the British Chambers of Commerce have released the findings from their latest Populus commissioned survey.From 2012 employers will be compelled to auto-enrol their employees into a qualifying pension scheme where they currently have no provision or their pension scheme is non-qualifying. This change will add to the employment costs of an estimated 966,000 firms in the UK.The survey has uncovered a very limited business awareness of what the proposed pension reforms actually stipulate and how these changes will impact on employers.The key findings from the poll were:
  • 56% of businesses reported being quite or completely unaware of the Government's plans for pension reform.
  • A mere 16% of respondents claimed they were aware of when the formal changes to pension provision are set to come into force.
  • When asked, "Has your business received any information about the Government's proposals for pensions reform?", only 6% were able to answer yes.
  • The Department for Work and Pensions has estimated that the cost of the changes on small and medium sized businesses will be £1.6 billion. However, just 10% of businesses surveyed knew how much the reforms would cost them.
Commenting on the results of the survey, David Frost, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce, said:
“Given the radical changes proposed in the Bill, and an estimated £1.6 billion cost to small and medium sized enterprises, our survey results demonstrate just how important it is to ensure that all employers are made fully aware of their new obligations."Not enforcing the changes until 2012 is a smart move as it allows employers some time to phase in the reforms. But as our survey clearly shows, more action is needed to improve employer awareness so that businesses are not caught out and left unable to safely plan for their financial future."