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

£7 PENSION RISE PLEDGED BY HAGU

E

P. Webster

Times, May 24th 2000, p. 1

Reports that William Hague is to pledge large one-off increases in the state pension, ranging from £5.50 a week for a single pensioner, £7.00 a week for a couple and £10.00 per week for a couple aged over 75. This would be paid for by the loss of a range of special payments, including the £10.00 Christmas bonus, free TV licences for the over 75s and the £150 winter fuel allowance. Hague hopes to capitalise on the fury over this year's 75p a week increase in the basic state pension.

(See also Guardian, May 24th 2000, p. 1+2; Daily Telegraph, May 24th 2000, p. 1+2; Financial Times, May 24th 2000, p. 4)

BROWN TO BOOST PENSIONS FROM PHONE WINDFALL

P. Webster and R. Watson

Times, May 25th, 2000, p. 15

Reports that Gordon Brown is under pressure from Labour MPs to match Conservative Party promises of a substantial one-off rise in the state pension. There is speculation that he will use money generated by the recent auction of licences to run next-generation mobile phones and large surplus in the National Insurance Fund, to finance increases to pensions.

(See also Independent, May 25th 2000, p. 9; Financial Times, May 25th 2000, p. 4; Daily Telegraph, May 25th 2000, p. 8)

PAY OFF THE OLDEST ONES

F. Field

Guardian, May 26th 2000, p. 21

Argues that the government's minimum income guarantee (MIG) for pensioners penalises those with small occupational pensions and some savings. Eligibility rules should be changed so that all pensioners would have their income brought up to MIG levels, plus full housing and council tax costs. Action is urgently needed on these fronts if Labour is to begin rebuilding its pensioner vote.

PENSIONER POWER

P. Toynbee

Guardian, May 26th 2000, p. 21

In order to rebuild its pensioner vote, Labour should massively increase the Minimum Income Guarantee (MIG) from £75.00 per week to £100.00.

PENSIONERS FAIL TO CLAIM BROWN'S TOP-UP GRANT

B. Brogan

Daily Telegraph, May 30th 2000, p. 2

Reports that only 19,000 of the 870,000 pensioners eligible for help under the minimum income guarantee scheme have applied.

PORTILLO BACKING FOR ANNUITY PLAN

J. Moore

Times, June 23rd 2000, p. 32

Michael Portillo, the Shadow Chancellor, is backing the proposals to boost pensioners' incomes by scrapping the requirement to purchase an annuity by the age of 75. Under a new system individuals would be required to buy an annuity linked to the retail prices index that would pay £140 a week. They would be free to invest the remainder of their pension funds as they pleased.

(See also Financial Times, June 23rd 2000, p.4)

STAKEHOLDER PENSIONS OPENED TO 8M IN OCCUPATIONAL SCHEMES

N. Timmins

Financial Times, July 5th 2000, p. 3

Stakeholder pensions are to be made available to about 8m people in final-salary occupational schemes. People in defined-benefit schemes will be allowed to hold a stakeholder at the same time provided that they earn less than £30,000 a year.

(See also Daily Telegraph, July 6th 2000, p. 37; Times, July 6th 2000, p. 28; Guardian, July 6th 2000, p. 25)

TREASURY SET TO UNVEIL LOW-COST INDIVIDUAL PENSION ACCOUNT

R. Miles

Times, June 8th 2000, p. 6

Announces government plans to launch a low-cost pension scheme that will invest principally in unit and investment trusts. With charges expected to be capped at one per cent, this scheme will open up the stakeholder pension market to the unit trust industry.

TWO DECADES OF PENSION REFORM IN THE UK: WHAT ARE THE IMPLICATIONS FOR OCCUPATIONAL PENSION SCHEMES?

D. Blake

Employee Relations, vol. 22, 2000, p. 223-245

Article reviews the pension policies implemented by UK governments over the past twenty years. It describes and analyses the defects in the Thatcher-Major governments' reforms that brought us the current system, examines and assesses the reforms of the Blair government, and then identifies the problems that remain unresolved and how they might be addressed. Concludes with an examination of the implications of these reforms for the future of occupational pension schemes.

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