Pensions Expert Fears Government Is Wasting Taxpayers' Cash With 'Silly Gimmick'

Specialist Pensions Lawyers at Irwin Mitchell Say Advertising Campaign Is An Insult To Small Businesses

22.10.2015

National pensions experts at law firm Irwin Mitchell have accused the Government of wasting public funds and insulting the intelligence of small businesses by launching a new £8.5 million advertising campaign featuring an animated furry monster to raise awareness of work-based pensions.

The Pixar-style animated beast, called Workie, launched by The Department of Work and Pensions, made his television debut on Wednesday night (October 21) and comes at a time when the same department is making controversial benefits cuts.

The ads are designed to remind employers they must follow new rules which oblige them to offer a pension scheme to their staff or face costly fines.

Pensions minister Baroness Ros Altmann received mixed reviews after unveiling the 10-ft multi-coloured animated creature that the Department describes as “a striking physical embodiment of the workplace pension”.

Baroness Altmann said: “This is a fun and quirky campaign but behind it lies a very serious message.

“We need everyone to know they are entitled to a workplace pension – and we need all employers to understand their legal responsibility to their staff, but also to feel more positive about engaging with workplace pensions.”

But Martin Jenkins, Head of Pensions at national law firm Irwin Mitchell, said the campaign trivialises an important issue which could cause employers a legal headache if they missed the message due to its frivolous delivery.

Expert Opinion
"I'm concerned about this campaign as I think the government runs the risk of insulting the intelligence of and therefore alienating thousands of cash-strapped small businesses and their staff who will see this for what it is -taxpayers' money being spent badly on a silly gimmick.

“Businesses need to quickly get to grips with their legal obligations in relation to workplace pensions and although I'm not against a light-hearted approach to make people sit up and take notice of this serious issue, I fear 'Workie' will shortly join that hall of shame of failed public information initiatives."
Martin Jenkins, Partner