Malcolm Booth of the National Federation of Occupational Pensioners and Partner of the Keep Me Posted Campaign, comments on the DWP's consultation on the Occupational and Personal Pension Schemes (Disclosure of Information) Regulations 2013:

 

"We are gravely concerned about today's Government response.

 

"Essentially, this move will allow pension providers to automatically opt their members in to electronic communications, unless members specifically state in writing that they would like postal communication. The Keep Me Posted Campaign's research shows that Britain's older people are very worried about automatic electronic communication for their bills and important financial documents.

 

"Today's move towards an 'opt-out' scheme raises significant concerns regarding consumer awareness and understanding. We believe that all pension providers must be required to obtain formal consent of customers to migrate communications from a postal to a digital format, in line with our charter.

 

"Keep Me Posted's partners responded to the consultation setting out our concerns about an 'opt-out' system. We believe that pension funds should only communicate with their members via electronic means if they are satisfied that the recipient will be able to both access, store and print the relevant information and that the consumer agrees that this is their preferred method of receiving information. Today's response utterly fails to take into account requirements of disabled recipients, the elderly or those that are unable to access electronic means of communication either because they are in rural areas or cannot afford to do so.

 

"7.1 million Britons have never used the internet, with high representation among the elderly. Our statistics show that 86% of individuals aged 75 view their financial statements purely on paper. Even amongst those aged under 24, the proportion currently viewing their statements on paper (47%) is more or less equal to the proportion viewing bank statements online (48%).

 

"Britain's pensioners must be given the choice of how they are communicated to. Today's response takes that choice one step further away from them."