Providers urge delay to ‘infeasible’ Lifetime Isa deadline


Providers are lobbying the Treasury to delay the launch of the Lifetime Isa over concerns key issues have not been resolved and are likely to be pushed back as a result of the Brexit fallout.

The calls come after sacked pensions minister Ros Altmann said the product, announced by George Osborne at the last Budget and due to launch in April 2017, should be scrapped entirely.

It is still not known whether savers will be able to borrow against the product, make penalty free withdrawals with events other than house purchase, or if it will be possible to deposit more than £4,000 a year.

Aegon pensions director Steven Cameron says: “Until we have answers to those we really can’t move forward. We’ve been saying for some time that unless we have these details very soon there won’t be time for providers to build the products and for the FCA to put in place the necessary regulation.

“It is a case of getting the details very quickly, keeping it simple so the market can get to work, or defer and cancel the whole thing. We need the detail by the end of July, if we have to wait until Parliament returns from recess that becomes infeasible.”

Fidelity International head of pensions Richard Parkin adds: “Might it be better to get the product right first time than try and rush a launch in April 2017? We suspect Treasury officials will have plenty more to keep them occupied.”

Altmann previously hit out at the policy which she argues will be used a “proxy pension for very well-off people”.

Any saver under 40 years old will be able to save up to £4,000 a year in a Lifetime Isa and will receive a 25 per cent government bonus. Funds can be withdrawn to buy a first home worth up to £450,000, or can be retained until aged 60 when the pot can be withdrawn tax-free.

A Treasury spokeswoman says: “Our new Lifetime Isa will give people greater freedom and choice to save flexibly for the long term in a way that works for them.