Office of the Deputy Prime Minister
Consultation paper floats ideas for reform of local government pension schemes. These are currently final salary schemes which are under pressure from the falling stock market. Paper argues that the schemes need to be made more flexible to meet the needs of part-timers and contract workers. Possible changes include offering pensions based on average, rather than final salaries, or the introduction of hybrid schemes. Under these, initial defined contribution pensions could revert to final salary after a given number of years of service.
Guardian, Sept 4th 2002, p. 9
Article reports on figures obtained by the Liberal Democrats from the Commons Library which show that at least 4.5 million women, of whom 1.5 million are of working age, have little or no state pension rights despite having paid more than £8bn in national insurance.
(See also Daily Telegraph, Sept 4th 2002, p. 36)
Guardian, Sept. 10th 2002, p. 12
Mick Leahy, leader of the Iron and Steel Trades Confederation, has warned that the Labour government's failure to address Britain's pensions crisis could undermine its popular support.
Guardian, Aug 30th 2002, p. 22
Article discusses the complex and confusing regulation of company pension schemes and calls for there to be three or four model schemes
Financial Times, Sept 4th 2002, p. 4
The trend of employers closing final salary pension schemes will lead to actuaries seeking new clients and new types of work.
P. Ring and R. McKinnon
European Journal of Social Security, vol. 4, 2002, p. 5-24
Argues that the UK is moving towards a pension structure akin to that promoted by the World Bank. This model involves more means-testing, greater private provision, and a shift in the burden of risk from the government to individuals. An assessment is then made of the implications of UK developments for other EU countries.
Financial Times, Aug. 21st 2002, p. 4
The Association of British Insurers will be calling on the government to raise the 1% ceiling on administrative charges on stakeholder pensions. Charges at this level make it uneconomic for companies to sell policies where people are only saving £20-£40 a month.
Guardian, Sept. 9th 2002, p. 10
Britain is on the verge of a wave of strikes against employers who close down generous occupational pension schemes and offer inferior versions. The TUC has also called on government to make employer and employee pension contributions compulsory and to set up a special reserve to fund pensions if companies go bankrupt.
(See also Daily Telegraph, Sept. 9th 2002, p. 25; Times, Sept. 9th 2002, p. 4; Independent, Sept. 9th 2002, p. 1)