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Welfare Reform on the Web (May 2011): Pensions - UK

The dawn of a new age

D. Regan

Training Journal, Apr. 2011, p. 63-65

The article considers the implications for business of the abolition of the default retirement age on April 6th 2011. Staff may choose to remain in their position longer, hindering succession planning, and employers may in some cases be forced to invoke disciplinary procedures to shift them. In addition, employers are still free to set a retirement age for their business, provided that they are able to justify it.

Millions may get smaller state pension

H. Wallop

Daily Telegraph, Apr. 11th 2011, p. 2

The Department for Work and Pensions is considering docking the state pensions of retirees in receipt of final salary pensions by 2.40 per week when the new flat rate state pension of 140.00 per week is introduced. This takes into account the years during which this group was contracted out of the Second State Pension and therefore did not pay full National Insurance.

Plan to let savers dip into pensions early is axed

M. Butterworth

Daily Telegraph, Apr. 20th 2011, p. 2

The government has announced that savers will not be allowed to access their pensions early. The option of encouraging saving by allowing people to withdraw money from their pension scheme before retirement has been rejected. The decision was made because of the risk that people would withdraw money early and not replace it, leaving them with insufficient funds during their retirement.

Self-employed set for higher state pensions

A Grice

The Independent, Apr. 4th 2011, p. 16

Andrew Grice reports that Ian Duncan Smith, the Work and Pensions Secretary, will pledge that people running businesses will benefit from higher state-pensions. He plans to scrap means-testing and bring in a flat-rate pension of about 155 a week. Others to benefit from the plan are women who do not build up National Insurance contributions because of career breaks to bring up children or acting as carers.

(See also The Guardian, Apr. 20th 2011, p. 13)

A state pension for the 21st century

Department for Work and Pensions

London: TSO, 2011 (Cm 8053)

This consultation paper on the reform of the state pension system proposes a flat rate pension of 140-150 per week for all new retirees, bringing an end to extra payments from the Second State Pension and means-tested benefits such as Pension Credits. The new system could be introduced as early as 2015, but will benefit only those who reach pension age after its launch. Existing pensioners will remain under the present system. The reforms will benefit women who have taken time out of the labour market to raise a family and lower earners.


Switch to flat rate state pension may damage private sector schemes

R. Winnett

Daily Telegraph, Apr. 8th 2011, p. 8

There are concerns that the Coalition government's proposed pension reforms could lead to the closure of final salary occupational schemes. Under proposals to introduce a flat rate state pension worth at least 140.00 a week from 2016, workers would be barred from 'opting out' of the system. This means that employers will not receive a state subsidy for their occupational schemes and will have to invest more in their pension funds.

Teachers give minister rough ride over pension plans

J. Vasagar

The Guardian, Apr. 21st 2011, p. 23

The schools minister, Nick Gibb, was heckled by teachers at the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) April 2011 conference as he attempted to justify proposed changes to their pensions that have prompted a ballot for industrial action. Teachers are also fiercely opposed to the government's education policy, with a survey by the Sutton Trust revealing that only 8% of teachers believe that free schools will raise standards and 69% believe that the expansion of the academies programme will lead to greater social segregation.

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