Following a public consultation on the issue, the Treasury confirmed such a move would not be considered as there was “limited evidence that it would have a positive effect on overall pension contribution levels.”
Existing planned pension reforms – including the introduction of auto-enrolment in 2012 – should also be implemented before further alterations were examined, the government said.
Currently, pension pots in registered schemes can only be assessed from the age of 55, or in cases of exceptional ill-health. But the Department for Work and Pensions estimates that seven million people of working age are currently under-saving for retirement.
“While early access has some merits, there is insufficient evidence to suggest it would act as an incentive to save more into pensions,” said Mark Hoban, financial secretary to the Treasury.
The government’s decision was backed by the National Association of Pension Funds (NAPF), who agreed it was not a feasible solution to the problem.