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Welfare Reform on the Web (January 2003): Pensions - UK

BRITISH PENSIONERS PAY FOR BROWN'S RECTITUDE

P Inman

The Guardian, December 2nd 2002, p.24

State funding for pensions in Britain is lower than any other European country and even lower than that of the US according to a report by the Government's Chief Actuary.

EMPLOYER PENSION COMPULSION MAY BE RULED OUT

N Timmins

Financial Times, November 6th 2002, p.6

Employers will not be compelled to contribute to their employees' pensions, Andrew Smith, the Work and Pensions' Secretary, indicated yesterday.

EVERY DAY IS PENSION DAY IN DOWNING STREET

P Riddell

Times, Oct 24th 2002, p.24

The collapse of final salary occupational pension schemes and low rates of return on annuities due to falling share prices are threatening the retirement incomes of the middle classes. These are also faced with having to sell their homes in order to finance long term care. People will have to work longer or save more to secure a decent income in old age.

PENSIONERS MAY LOSE FREE RIDE ON THE BUSES

B Webster

The Times, December 2nd 2002, p.1

Free bus passes for the elderly and disabled should be abolished, according to a government commission. Pensioners should forfeit £42 million in public subsidy and pay half the normal fare instead, the Commission for Integrated Transport recommends.

POOREST PENSIONERS MISS OUT ON £1,000 A YEAR IN BENEFITS

P. Waugh

The Independent, November 20th 2002, p.8

At least three quarters of a million of Britain's poorest pensioners are missing out on more than £1,000 a year in unclaimed benefits. The National Audit Office (NAO) found that the elderly failed to claim because the current system was too complex, stigmatising and badly administered.

(See also Financial Times, November 20th 2002, p.6)

PRIVATE PENSION PLANNING: THE RHETORIC OF RESPONSIBILITY, THE REALITY OF INSECURITY

K Rowlingson

Journal of Social Policy, vol. 31, 2002, p.623-642

Over the past twenty years UK governments have been actively encouraging people to take responsibility for their future financial security and to actively save for their retirement. Reports results of research identifying reasons for continuing low levels of private pension planning in spite of government exhortations to save. Identifies current financial constraints as the main reason why people do not save more for their retirement.

PRIVATISATION OF SOCIAL SECURITY IN THE UNITED KINGDOM: WARNING OR EXEMPLAR?

J H Williamson

Journal of Ageing Studies, vol. 16, 2002, p.415-430

Presents an analysis of recent pension system reforms in Britain that have implications for the proposed partial privatisation of Social Security in the USA. The British case suggests that privatisation may lead to a reduction in the pension burden on the national budget if combined with substantial cuts in the value of the state pension. Such reforms may have a positive effect on the economy, but use of private pension schemes involves high administrative costs, exposure to stock market fluctuations, potentially lower pension benefits for low-income workers, particularly women, and increased social inequality.

RADICAL ACTION ON PENSIONS RULED OUT

N Timmins

Financial Times, November 22nd 2002, p.1

The government has been criticised for failing to offer radical solutions to Britain's pensions crisis. Next month's pensions green paper will rule out any compulsion on employers to contribute to pensions, while the second state pension will remain, as will the right to contract out of it.

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