Fewer people have begun taking flexible payments from their pensions since the beginning of April, new figures published today show, suggesting there's been some caution around making withdrawals during the covid-19 pandemic.
HMRC, the UK treasury, said the figures for July-September revealed that £2.33bn was taken as flexible payments in July-August,
Stephen Lowe, group communications director at Just Group, said: "Between April and September, 123,000 people have started taking flexible withdrawals from pensions which is about 23% lower than the 153,000 who started withdrawing in the same period in 2019."
These figures must be treated very cautiously because they don’t cover people who are just accessing tax-free cash or who are emptying pensions under ‘small pot’ rules."
"The first quarter of the financial year, which coincided with the height of the Covid restrictions, was quieter and although activity has picked up in the latest quarter, it is still a little lower than we would expect to see in more normal circumstances."
He added: "It's positive that people do not appear to have panicked and started emptying their retirement funds in great numbers. But these figures must be treated very cautiously because they don't cover people who are just accessing tax-free cash or who are emptying pensions under ‘small pot' rules.
"We would urge those who are struggling financially to first check what benefits may be available to them and to use the free, impartial and independent guidance offered by Pension Wise to ensure they understand all the potential consequences of accessing pensions before retirement."