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

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LAIR ROCKED BY PENSIONS DEFEAT

G. Jones

Daily Telegraph, Sept. 28th 2000, p. 1+2

The Labour Party conference has voted to restore the link between the state pension and earnings against the wishes of the government, causing major embarrassment to Tony Blair.

(See also Financial Times, Sept. 28th 2000, p. 1; Independent, Sept. 28th 2000, p. 1)

BRITISH PENSION POLICY IN THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY: A PARTNERSHIP IN PENSIONS OR A MARRIAGE TO THE MEANS TEST?

K. Rahe, J. Falkingham and M. Evans

Social Policy and Administration, vol. 34, 2000, p. 296-317

Paper analyses how well New Labour's reforms of the British pension system will serve the low-income population and protect against a means-tested old age. Argues that the proposals will develop a new relationship between public and private pension provision that will lead to a much wider role for means-testing. Finds that the proposed second state pension will not be a replacement for SERPS, but will, in fact, combine with the basic pension to provide a new flat-rate pension aimed at the poorest. Low-income individuals and those with broken work records will face great difficulty in avoiding a means-tested old age. Furthermore, increased reliance on annuity income in retirement may also propel significant numbers of the middle classes into means testing.

BROWN BUYS OFF PENSIONS REVOLT

G. Jones

Daily Telegraph, Sept. 26th 2000, p. 1+2

Reports that the Chancellor of the Exchequer has bowed to union pressure and agreed an above-inflation increase in the state pension from April 2001. He has however ruled out uprating pensions in line with earnings rather than in line with prices. Other measures announced include the introduction of a pension credit in 2003 to help middle-income pensioners and a rise in the minimum income guarantee from £78.00 to £90.00 a week.

(See also Independent, Sept. 26th 2000, p. 1+7; Financial Times, Sept. 26th 2000, p. 1+4; Guardian, Sept. 26th 2000, p. 1+9; Times, Sept. 26th 2000, p. 1+8)

BROWN HITS BACK OVER PENSIONS

P. Webster, T. Baldwin and R. Watson

Times, Sept. 22nd 2000, p. 1+8

Reports that the Chancellor of the Exchequer, union leaders and party activists have agreed a three point policy on pensions. It says that no pensioner should live in poverty, that pensioners should not be penalised for having savings, and that all should share in improved standards of living.

(See also Financial Times, Sept. 22nd 2000, p. 6; Daily Telegraph, Sept. 22nd 2000, p. 1)

BROWN TO FIGHT BACK WITH PENSIONS BOOST

P. Webster and T. Baldwin

Times, Sept. 21st 2000, p. 4

Predicts that the Chancellor will give a boost to pensioners' incomes through an increase in the minimum pension guarantee, the introduction of a pensioner credit and an increase in the basic state pension.

(See also Independent, Sept. 22nd 2000, p. 2; Guardian, Sept. 22nd 2000, p. 1)

ELDERLY IN SAVINGS TRAP TO GET CASH BOOST

J. Carvel

Guardian, Sept. 12th 2000, p. 9

The social security secretary outlined the principles of a pension credit to help those caught in a savings trap. Pensioners receiving the minimum income guarantee will get a cash addition for every pound saved.

EMPLOYEES FACE INEQUALITY OVER STAKEHOLDER PENSION CHARGES

K. Griffiths

Independent, Aug. 31st 2000, p. 14

Reports that stakeholder pension providers are negotiating individual deals with companies over charging levels. Under these, charges will vary depending on the size of the client company and the likely take-up of the scheme.

EMPLOYERS TO FIND £700M A YEAR MORE FOR PENSIONS

P. Collinson

Guardian, Sept. 15th 2000, p. 25

Britain's employers will have to find an extra £700m a year to fund pensions because people are living much longer. The extra burden is part of a sweeping overhaul proposed by the DSS of the "minimum funding requirement", or MFR, introduced in 1995 Pensions Act.

(See also Independent, Sept. 15th 2000, p. 15; Financial Times, Sept. 15th 2000, p. 6)

EXTRA £5 A WEEK PLEDGED FOR PENSIONERS

P. Waugh

Independent, Sept. 21st 2000, p. 8

Liberal Democrats at their party conference voted to approve new proposals to pay an extra £5.00 a week to all pensioners, £10.00 to over-75s and £15.00 to over-80s. An independent pension authority would be created to report annually to the government on uprating the state pension, taking into account poverty, earnings and national income.

LABOUR PLANS £100 MINIMUM FOR OAPS

J. Hartley-Brewer

Guardian, Sept. 8th 2000, p. 13

The Chancellor is drawing up plans to guarantee a minimum income of £100 a week for Britain's poorest pensioners. The package is to include an increase in the basic state pension by more than the rate of inflation next year, as well as raising the minimum income guarantee from £78.45 and introducing a pension credit for those living just above the poverty line.

(See also Independent, Sept. 8th 2000, p. 1; Times, Sept. 8th 2000, p. 1)

MINISTERS WARN BROWN ON PENSIONS

R. Watson, T. Baldwin and J. Landale

Times, Sept. 25th 2000, p. 5

The Chancellor of the Exchequer is coming under pressure from the Labour Party membership and the unions to increase the value of the state pension at a rate above inflation. If no move is made to address the pensioners' grievances, the party may lose votes at the next election. The government is however determined not to return to the system of uprating pensions in line with earnings.

(See also Independent, Sept. 25th 2000, p. 4; Guardian, Sept. 25th 2000, p. 1)

NO TIME TO TALK

P. Taylor-Gooby

Guardian, Oct. 4th 2000, p. 21

UK governments have been able to reform pension policy more quickly than other European countries because they do not have to gain agreement from coalition partners or powerful trade unions.

PENSIONERS 'ABLE TO BEAT ANNUITY TRAP'

J. Sherman

Times, Oct. 5th 2000, p. 10

Conservatives propose waiving current rules which require pensioners over 75 to use capital built up in pension funds to purchase an annuity. Instead, people could draw down capital from their funds to purchase insurance for long term care, to invest in the stock market or pay for a holiday. They could also be allowed to bequeath money stored in pension funds to their children.

(See also Daily Telegraph, Oct. 5th 2000, p. 8)

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