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Elliott Silk, head of employee benefits at Sanlam financial services group gives his outlook for employers for 2017:

Article 50: “The expected triggering of Article 50 late in Q1 will cause instability in the markets. There will likely be an impact on businesses who rely on imports and exports, which could lead to them reviewing their staff headcount. Businesses who rely on foreign labour, such as those in the agricultural industry, could also feel an impact if there are restrictions on people moving around the EU.”

Salary sacrifice: “The changes to salary sacrifice from April 2017 on schemes excluding pensions, childcare vouchers, cycle to work and low emission cars will lead to employers reviewing their benefits. This could result in withdrawing from certain schemes, meaning employees will need to arrange this provision privately – this could cost them more and reduce their net disposable income.”

Lifetime ISA: “It will be interesting to see whether the new Lifetime ISA is a success and if it leads to increases in opt-out rates on pensions. As those under age 22 are not auto-enrolled, people of this age are likely to save into the Lifetime ISA. It is also probable that those in this category will not be able to afford to pay into both vehicles, which may result in them shunning pensions and opt-out when becoming an eligible jobholder.”

Changes to tax-relief: “Tax-relief will be a large focus during 2017, and we expect a lot more changes to tax relief on pensions next year. The Government may use the auto-enrolment review that is taking place next year as an opportunity to put forward proposals on the subject of tax relief.”

 

 

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