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Welfare Reform on the Web (May 2005): Pensions - UK

BARRIERS TO PENSION SCHEME PARTICIPATION IN SMALL- AND MEDIUM-SIZED ENTERPRISES

A. Byrne, D. Harrison and D. Blake

Pensions, vol.10, 2005, p.144-151

Occupational pension provision in the UK is poor among small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Article uses data from interviews with individuals from a wide range of organisations active in the design and delivery of pension schemes for SMEs to identify the barriers to take up. Finds that finance directors are wary of the costs of pension scheme provision and want to see a return for their investment. Even employers who provide an attractive pension scheme on paper can ensure low employee take up through lack of endorsement and high staff contribution rates. Research also showed that pension providers are reluctant to promote pensions in companies where management is unsupportive.

DISCRETIONARY TAX APPROVAL OF UK PENSION SCHEMES: HOW WILL THE SOLE PURPOSE TEST BE REPLACED?

J. Hayward

Pensions, vol.10, 2005, p.130-136

In April 2006, discretionary tax approval granted by the Inland Revenue (IR) will be replaced by statutory registration of occupational and personal pension schemes. The "sole purpose" test on which tax approval by the IR is based will pass into history. Article discusses the implications of these changes for the pensions industry and asks whether any loopholes for tax avoidance will remain.

THE PENSIONS OMBUDSMAN: A REVIEW

C. Busby

Pensions, vol.10, 2005, p.119-123

The Office of the Pensions Ombudsman is coming under scrutiny for delay and for decisions which depart from existing precedents. Article discusses possible reforms, including appointment of a Deputy Ombudsman, changing the Ombudsman's jurisdiction, requiring vexatious complainants to pay the respondent's costs, and changing the appeals procedure.

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