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Welfare Reform on the Web (June 2000): Pensions - UK

AGE CONCERN MAY SUE OVER PENSIONS BLUNDER

N. Timmins

Financial Times, Mar. 17th 2000, p. 8

Age Concern is considering legal action over the government's decision to compensate only those individuals who can prove they were actively misled by the Department of Social Security about a cut in survivors' benefits in the SERPS mis-selling scandal.

CREDIT FOR PENSIONERS MAY BE INTRODUCED IN NEXT PARLIAMENT

J. Burns

Financial Times, March 22nd, 2000, p. 9

The government is considering the introduction of a new pensioners' credit in the next parliament as part of its efforts to eradicate poverty and help those with modest pensions and savings. Under the proposals, and older pensioner with income of, for example, less than 100 a week would qualify for a pension credit to raise his income. Winter fuel payment will also rise to 150.

(See also Independent, Mar. 22nd 2000, p. 7)

EMPLOYER PAYMENTS TO PERSONAL PENSIONS: A CONSULTATION DOCUMENT

Department of Social Security

London: 2000

Presents proposals for new rules to ensure that employers' payments to personal pensions (including stakeholder pensions) are made on time.

LET PENSIONS FILL THE FUNDING GAP

A. Sperryn

Public Finance, Mar. 17th - 23rd 2000, p. 22-23

Suggests that the state pension fund should be used to finance major public infrastructure projects such as modernising London Underground.

LOW COST BUT ACCEPTABLE INCOMES FOR OLDER PEOPLE

H. Parker (editor)

Bristol: Policy Press, 2000

Study estimates the incomes required by men and women in the age range 65-74 years to reach a living standard called Low Cost but Acceptable (LCA), with the latter defined as poverty threshold which is sustainable, health-promoting and conducive to social integration. Budgets are presented for single women, single men and couples, as local authority tenants and as owner-occupiers. Results showed that pensioners need at least 10,00 a week more than the government provides, and in some cases up to 44 more, to meet their minimum needs.

PENSIONS AND LOW INFLATION

P. M. C. Meredith et al

London: Staple Inn Actuarial Society, 2000-05-22

In a period of sustained low inflation, the future real return investment is likely to fall. For defined contribution schemes and personal pensions, current contribution levels are unlikely to be sufficient to provide a satisfactory income throughout retirement. Defined benefit scheme sponsors face substantial costs and risks in providing tightly prescribed benefits in a low inflation, low return and potentially more volatile environment.

SERPS CLASH COMES TO A HEAD

N. Timmins

Financial Times, Mar. 14th 2000, p. 1 & 8

Reports that the Treasury has won a battle with the dept. of Social Security to minimise the cost of protecting windows who face big losses in income as a result of the SERPS mis-selling scandal. Rather than postponing for many years any change to pension entitlements, the government is instead to offer 'protected rights' to those who can show they were actively misled.

STAKEHOLDER PENSIONS: CONSULTATION ON DRAFT REGULATIONS

Department of Social Security

London: 2000

Regulations cover the ways in which schemes may be established, insofar as these are covered in DSS legislation; other elements of registration requirements which schemes have to meet in order to qualify as stakeholder schemes, including the detailed specification of the maximum charge; the requirements on employers to provide access to a stakeholder scheme; and the application of a number of existing regulations to stakeholder pension schemes.

STATE EARNINGS-RELATED PENSION SCHEME (SERPS) INHERITANCE PROVISION

Parliamentary Commissioner for Administration

London: TSO, 2000 (House of Commons papers. Session 1999/2000; HC 305)

Finds that the Department of Social Security and the Benefits Agency were guilty of maladministration in that they have misleading and inadequate information about changes introduced by the Social Security Act 1986 which affected the SERPS inheritance rules after April 6th 2000.

STATE EARNINGS-RELATED PENSION SCHEME: THE FAILURE OF INFORM THE PUBLIC OF REDUCED PENSION RIGHTS FOR WIDOWS AND WIDOWERS

National Audit Office

London: TSO, 2000 (House of Commons papers. Session 1999/2000; HC 320)

Report examines how the Department of Social Security's failure to provide correct and timely information on changes to the SERPS inheritance rules will result in the loss to the National Insurance Fund of billions of pounds of anticipated savings. Outlines the provisions of the redress packages, and the costs of putting right the blunder.

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