A Conservative government would investigate early auto-enrolment proposals as a priority but has not ruled out scrapping Personal Accounts altogether, shadow work and pensions spokeswoman Theresa May says.
Speaking at an ABI savings conference, May told delegates allowing companies to voluntarily opt-in prior to the 2012 deadline was "worth serious consideration".
Under current proposals, employers are only mandated to enrol workers into a qualifying workplace scheme once the deadline has passed.
She said: "Under the current system, savers are being punished rather than rewarded. As the economy recovers from recession, we need to foster a new culture of saving in the UK.
“I believe that auto-enrolment is a necessary part of this and if allowing companies to opt-in early will help smooth the process of transition, it is worth considering."
However, May also hinted the Conservatives could abandon the Personal Accounts altogether and would conduct a full review of the scheme amid "serious concerns" over the prospect of leveling down.
She added industry calls for greater flexibility in the pensions system had been heard, although policy commitments only stretched as far as "having a look at" models of early access such as those currently used in the US and New Zealand.
‘Important to have an anchor’
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Lack of innovation for solutions
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