Journal of Social Policy, vol.33, 2004, p.347-371
The article discusses the future of the UK National Insurance system with particular emphasis on its relationship to the pension system. Pension reforms have produced a system of huge complexity. The author argues for a simpler alternative. This would offer a flat rate state pension at a fixed percentage of average earnings funded by National Insurance. Other National Insurance benefits could either be separated from pensions and absorbed within other working age social security, or the scope of National Insurance could be maintained but based on a test of participation, not past contribution.
Financial Times, August 4th 2004, p.4
The 1995 Pensions Bill, whose chief goal was to ensure that any pension promises employers made could be honoured in full, was hailed as a triumph. But nearly a decade on it is clear that many of its provisions have failed to work. More than 60,000 scheme members have lost all or part of their pensions after their employer slid into insolvency and a further 40,000 members of the T&N engineering group scheme are threatened with at least some losses with their plan facing wind-up at the end of the year.
The Independent, August 17th 2004, p. 13
Hundreds of thousands of pensioners are being forced to work into their seventies and eighties to avoid a life of poverty, new figures indicate. According to figures from the Office for National Statistics, 1,011,000 people over the sate pension age were in paid employment last month. Analysts say that the over-60s are working longer and harder because of financial concerns about their pensions and worries about paying for long-term care when they are older.
The Independent August, 11th 2004, p. 34
The Government's liability for public sector pensions has risen by more than 50 per cent to over £600bn over the past two years, forcing the Treasury to choose between a rise in taxes or a cut in public spending if it is to continue honouring its financial commitments.