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Welfare Reform on the Web (March 2007): Pensions - UK

Britain’s pensions crisis: history and policy

H. Pemberton, P. Thane and N. Whiteside (editors)

Oxford: OUP, 2006

Creating a socially just and financially viable pensions system for the aged is one of the most urgent political issues in Britain today. This book explores the past, present and future of pensions in Britain, drawing lessons both from Britain’s own history, and from the experience of other European countries and North America. As past successes and failures hold lessons for policy-makers today, the book starts by tracing the history of pensions policy through the post-war decades and examining the roots of the present crisis. It goes on to explore the gender inequalities in pension provision with only 20 per cent of women being entitled to a full national insurance pension in their own right. It also discusses the reasons for the decline in occupational and private pensions and contains reactions to the second report of the Pensions Commission and the government’s response to it.

Pension ruling puts pressure on ministers

N. Tait and B. Hall

Financial Times, Feb.22nd 2007,p.3

A High Court Judge ruled that ministers had been wrong in rejecting the findings of the parliamentary ombudsman who found that the Department for Work and Pensions was guilty of maladministration when dealing with 75,000 collapsed company pension schemes after employers were forced into insolvency. The government has previously rejected any liability for the losses estimated at £15bn. The Judge echoed the ombudsman’s recommendation that the government should reconsider its treatment of employees that have lost their occupational pensions and non-core benefits. However he was not entirely convinced that the government had misled the public in information disseminated about the security of occupational pension schemes.

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