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Welfare Reform on the Web (April 2006): Pensions - UK

E. Conway

Daily Telegraph, February 27th 2006, p. 1 & 2

Huge increases in the estimates of money needed for public sector pensions are revealed as the government’s “discount rate”, which factors in the effect of interest rates to liability calculations, is brought in line with the private sector to give what “experts” believe is a more reliable figure. The article provides critical comments and the increased figures for NHS, Teachers, Civil Service and Forces.

B. Hall & N. Cohen

Financial Times, March 15th 2006, p.1

Incomplete, inaccurate and potentially misleading government leaflets failed to warn people of risks to occupational pensions. This has resulted in 85,000 people losing all or part of their promised occupational pension benefits when firms went bankrupt. The Parliamentary Ombudsman’s investigation demands full compensation. The article looks at the crisis and the government’s responses.

[See also Financial Times, March 15th 2006, p.4; Daily Telegraph, March 15th 2006 p. 1 & 2; Times, March 15th 2006 p.11; Guardian, March 15th 2006 p.27]

P. Wintour

Guardian, March 14th 2006, p. 14

Seventy per cent women are not entitled to a full state pension when they reach retirement age. Pensions Minister Hutton will reveal plans proposing weekly credits for women interrupting work to become carers or raise children. Today’s speech will espouse a new contributory principle suggesting the government’s rejection of Turner’s proposals for length-of-residency based pension entitlement.

[See also Times, March 14th 2006, p.13]

Anon.

Labour Research, vol.95, Feb. 2006, p.14-16

The current pension system in the UK does not work well for women. They have less access to occupational pensions than men and are more likely to work part-time or take career breaks to care for children, cutting their state pension entitlement. The Turner Commission’s pension proposals include some positive recommendations for women, but there is a risk that changes will be implemented too slowly.

R. Murphy

Local Economy, vol.21, 2006, p.91-96

Paper proposes that pension savings should be invested in infrastructure improvements required by central and local government and state-run agencies such as the NHS through a vehicle called People’s Pension Funds. The Funds would actually build the required infrastructure and then lease the asset back to the commissioning body at rates of return about, or a bit above, the normal lending rate government can enjoy. The lease payments would return not just interest but all the original capital invested.

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