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Welfare Reform on the Web (February 2002): Pensions - UK

AGE OLD ATTITUDES

R. Brooks and

London: Institute for Public Policy Research, 2001.

Presents research suggesting that there is widespread public confusion about what to expect from the state after retirement. The planned Pensions Credit could make an already bewildering system even more complex. Its cost is likely to be very high and could eventually reach £10bn a year, 1% of GDP. Research reported shows that today's pensioners feel let down by the state, which they feel has broken an implicit contract to look after them in retirement provided that they paid their taxes.

BOMBSHELL AWAITS NEXT GENERATION OF PENSIONERS

T. Tassell

Financial Times, Dec. 6th 2001, p. 1 + 5

The annual survey of company schemes by the National Association of Pension Funds shows the widespread scrapping of traditional "final salary" pensions in favour of "defined benefit" schemes. These transfer risk to the employee, and the change means that thousands will suffer shortfalls in their retirement incomes.

FIRMS FACE PENSION FINES

M. Atherton

Times, Dec. 3rd 2001, p. 23

Article sums up the Association of British Assurers findings that one in five employers missed the October 8th deadline for setting up a stakeholder pension scheme for their staff. 65,000 businesses face up to £5,000 fines each for failing to meet the deadline. It discusses briefly the government's expectations and the reality of how the scheme has been unplemented.

(See also Daily Telegraph, Dec. 3rd 2001, p.27)

PENSION PROVISION AND SELF-EMPLOYMENT

Pension Provision Group

[Harrow, Middx]: 2001

Many people in self-employment today run risk of poverty in old age. Many are on low incomes without the means to fund their retirement. For them self-reliance can never be a realistic option and report argues that they should enjoy the same security and redistribution as other low paid workers. Self-employment has also become more common and many more people will retire with experience of at lest one spell of self-employment during their working lives. Report concludes that the present policy distinction between employees and the self-employed is outdated. Periods of self-employment should be brought into the state second pension when it has become flat rate, on a compulsory basis, but with the option to contract out into a private pension.

PENSIONS AND THE LABOUR MARKET

Pension Provision Group

[Harrow, Middx]: 2001

There is a popular view that employment has become much more volatile with people experiencing more frequent job changes, and, as a result, occupational pensions being under threat. Study shows this fear to be greatly exaggerated. In the key years generally after age 25, the increase in job mobility has been quite small and pension provision through the workplace is likely to remain the best solution for most people. However, government needs to encourage people to retire later and youngsters to start saving earlier for their old age.

SHARE FALLS ADD TO PENSION FEARS

Anon

Labour Research, vol. 90, Dec. 2001, p. 14-15

Discusses the problems faced by "defined contribution" pension holders. In contrast to "defined benefit" schemes in which pensions are linked to earnings, defined contribution schemes shift the risk onto the employee.

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