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    From Ros Altmann:economist and pensions,
    investment and retirement policy expert

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    Author: Ros Altmann

    Is time up for the triple lock?

    Is time up for the triple lock?

    It’s really important to protect pensioners – but is triple lock the best means of doing so?    Triple lock does not protect the poorest and oldest pensioners.  Moving to a double lock to increase State Pensions, including Pension Credit,  by best of earnings or price inflation would offer better protection.  The Triple Lock on State Pensions was introduced in 2011 to protect pensioner incomes. Over many years, the Basic State Pension had fallen significantly behind general increases in income…

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    Delighted to see Government rejects age discrimination against over-70s

    Delighted to see Government rejects age discrimination against over-70s

    Government rejects discrimination in its lockdown policy – quite right too! Isolated, healthy over-70s delighted to be spared harsher treatment just because of their age.  ONS death rates and medical evidence do not suggest all over-70s at greater risk from Covid-19. Older people delighted to see Government rejecting discrimination: The Government’s measures to ease lockdown restrictions do not, as many had feared, include ageist bias. Having worked so hard to overcome age discrimination throughout society and the workplace, Ministers have…

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    Collective punishment of older people is unacceptable

    Collective punishment of older people is unacceptable

    Old people must not be confined just because some are vulnerable.   Surely collective punishment of all those over a specific age is unacceptable in our democracy. It is not acceptable just to blame the virus for ‘targeting’ some age groups. I urge Government to consider the social and political consequences of such authoritarian policies. Clinical advice must not be used to promote age discrimination: I have real fears that Ministers are considering blanket bans to prevent older people leaving…

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    Pension freedoms carry risks but are better than the old system

    Pension freedoms carry risks but are better than the old system

    FCA concerns about ‘significant risks of harm’ from pension freedoms are valid, but do not mean freedoms are wrong. Consumers are facing new risks, but it is right to allow people to manage their pensions over time, rather than requiring most to just buy a standard annuity.  Original policy intention of ensuring everyone receives impartial guidance or advice before taking money from their pension was absolutely right, but this is not happening in practice.  Without impartial guidance or advice, consumers…

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    Government’s emergency pension measures are welcome

    Government’s emergency pension measures are welcome

    Well done to Government and the Pensions Regulator for emergency pension measures. Protecting the principle of auto-enrolment is hugely important. But allowing employers leeway to delay deficit contributions during current crisis makes sense. Allowing schemes’ trustees to suspend transfers for at least three months can protect members against scams and allow more time to assess more reliable valuations. The Government and the Pensions Regulator deserve plaudits, in my view, for announcing bold emergency measures to address some of the potential…

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    Wonderful news: Barclays to waive interest charges on arranged overdrafts

    Wonderful news: Barclays to waive interest charges on arranged overdrafts

    WELL DONE TO BARCLAYS – FIRST BANK TO AGREE TO WAIVE OVERDRAFT CHARGES   It will not charge customers using arranged overdrafts from Friday till end April 2020   Congratulations to Barclays Bank for being the first to announce it will suspend interest charges for its customers who need to dip into their arranged overdraft facilities.  Until now, even those people using arranged overdrafts were facing penal interest charges of around 40% a year.  Now, the bank says its customers…

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    Emergency measures for pensions to help protect customers from scams and accelerate Pensions Dashboard

    Emergency measures for pensions to help protect customers from scams and accelerate Pensions Dashboard

    Two important pension crisis measures to help protect consumers and improve records:  Stop all pension transfers for six months. Ensure pension administrators start to reconcile records, cleanse and validate data to improve accuracy of pension information. These two emergency measures are designed to stabilise pension schemes, avoid further losses to scammers and improve the reliability of pension data, so that accurate past records and a reliable dashboard will be more quickly and readily achieved. Put All Pension Transfers on hold…

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    Banks should immediately cut record high credit card interest rates to 0.5% and reduce overdraft rates to help customers weather this crisis

    Banks should immediately cut record high credit card interest rates to 0.5% and reduce overdraft rates to help customers weather this crisis

    Two suggestions for banks to introduce immediately to help customers cope with the current crisis.  Reduce credit card interest rates to 0.5% Abandon plans to increase overdraft interest rates to nearly 40% Credit card interest rates are at record highs, despite the bank rate at a record low: Credit card interest rates are higher now than they were before the 2008 financial crisis. Unfortunately, banks have been continuing to increase the interest rates charged to credit card customers, even as…

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    Pension Scams – risks rising if more people at home and markets so weak

    Pension Scams – risks rising if more people at home and markets so weak

    Pension scam risks increase with people at home and markets in meltdown.   More people likely to be caught by cold-calling or online scammers.  Urgent Regulatory action and early warning systems required to improve consumer protection. Parliamentarians support new All-Party Parliamentary Group on Pension Scams.  More people at home gives more easy targets for fraudsters: As more people are forced to stay at home during the current coronavirus crisis and investment markets have plunged, the risks of cold-calling criminals or…

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    Huge Gender Pensions Gap – International Women’s Day is a chance to highlight need for action on women’s pensions

    Huge Gender Pensions Gap – International Women’s Day is a chance to highlight need for action on women’s pensions

    Gender Pensions Gap much worse than Gender Pay Gap. Women lose out in both State and Private pensions because of their social role. Budget could fix pension system cracks that women are falling through. Let’s close gender pensions gap and encourage women to take responsibility for their pensions. Ahead of International Women’s Day, I thought it might be timely to write about the shocking gap between men and women’s pensions, which still exists in 21st Century Britain. Women are the…

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