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

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    Author: Ros Altmann

    Social care funding reform cannot be achieved equitably or sustainably with a National Insurance rise

    Social care funding reform cannot be achieved equitably or sustainably with a National Insurance rise

    Social care funding reform cannot be achieved equitably or sustainably with a National Insurance rise – and even worse if the extra money just goes to the NHS. Increasing National Insurance is socially inequitable for funding desperately needed social care improvements which were supposedly finalised in 2019, pre-pandemic. The lowest earners pay National Insurance of 12.8% on £3,000 more of their income than other taxpayers. NI starts around £180 a week, but tax only starts around £240 a week. Pensioners, pensions,…

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    State Pension earnings link in triple lock must not be abandoned

    State Pension earnings link in triple lock must not be abandoned

    State Pension earnings link in triple lock must not be abandoned. Uprating reflects retrospective inflation but forecast steep price rises will hit poorest pensioners most. Government must not abandon the earnings link in the State Pension uprating calculation:  To abandon the earnings link element of the State Pension triple lock would be a potential disaster for pensions and pensioner poverty.  With the lowest State Pension in the developed world and millions of pensioners already living in poverty, failing to uprate…

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    Dropping the earnings link for state pensions sets a dangerous precedent

    Dropping the earnings link for state pensions sets a dangerous precedent

    Pensioners are not all well-off, millions rely on the State Pension which is the lowest in the developed world.    Removing the earnings link sets a dangerous precedent that pensioners are a target for cost savings.    Basic state pension was worth 26% of average earnings in 1979, fell to 16.3% by 2010 and is now 19% with new State Pension at 24.8%.    A comprehensive review of pensioner support is needed, not short-term sudden changes in their protection.   It…

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    Chancellor and PM can help pension funds create their Investment Big Bang

    Chancellor and PM can help pension funds create their Investment Big Bang

    PM and Chancellor are right to encourage UK pension funds to invest more in UK growth projects.    Investment Big Bang could be kick-started at pace and scale by DB pensions more easily than DC, including near £300billion local authority pension assets.    If Government offers a guaranteed return at least equivalent to gilts, DB schemes could invest more freely, boost growth more quickly and help fix their deficits faster.    Long-term Asset Fund can help DC schemes overcome daily…

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    Bank of England must put QE on pause tomorrow

    Bank of England must put QE on pause tomorrow

    As Covid pandemic wanes, Bank of England’s emergency policies should be paused.  Money-tree policy has no clear end, but is inflating asset bubbles which may spill over into price inflation.  Global central banks are not even clear that QE is needed as inflation is picking up. QE is still a monetary experiment: When central banks introduced the money-printing idea of ‘quantitative easing’, in the teeth of the financial crisis, the policy was designed to stave off a 1930s-style deflation and…

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    State Pension needs radical overhaul, not short-term tinkering

    State Pension needs radical overhaul, not short-term tinkering

    Don’t abandon State Pension triple lock just because of one year’s figures.  Triple lock is not a sensible policy – it’s a political construct that has acquired totemic significance.    We need a comprehensive review of all aspects of pensioner support, not constant tinkering with parts of it.  Take the political meddling away and let’s have a sensible retirement income system for all.      State pension triple lock is an inefficient policy tool, but has proved a really potent…

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    Reducing pensioner poverty – over 2 million poor pensioners need encouragement to claim Pension Credit

    Reducing pensioner poverty – over 2 million poor pensioners need encouragement to claim Pension Credit

    Worrying rise in number of pensioners living in poverty.   Poverty particularly acute for oldest and single pensioners, those in social rented housing and those from black and Asian backgrounds.  Yet official figures show £1.6billion Pension Credit is going unclaimed each year with nearly a million pensioner households missing out on an average £1600 a year. Delighted to see AgeUK, Len Goodman and Rustie Lee joining calls to improve Pension Credit take-up, which has been stuck at 40% since 2010. Worrying…

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    A chance to end pensioner poverty this Bank Holiday

    A chance to end pensioner poverty this Bank Holiday

    This Bank Holiday weekend, if you’re visiting elderly relatives or neighbours, could be a golden opportunity to stop pensioner poverty. Furlough payments supported workers with their living costs during lockdown, but over one million isolated pensioners have not had money they’re entitled to.  £1.8billion Pension Credit is going unclaimed by UK pensioners – this money is rightfully theirs, so do tell them about it or help them apply. Up to £9,000 a year Pension Credit for single pensioners PLUS perhaps…

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    Queens Speech – another missed chance to reform social care – if not now, when?

    Queens Speech – another missed chance to reform social care – if not now, when?

    If not now, when? Queen’s Speech missed another chance for social care reform.  The pandemic has highlighted so many failures in our social care system, leaving elderly people without the care and support they require.    25,000 people relying on social care at home died, with excess deaths in some areas doubling or trebling as Covid-19 interrupted care services.    Thousands more care home residents died last year as care homes were relegated to second class provision.    Legislation is…

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    FCA proposes tougher action to protect pension customers – at last!

    FCA proposes tougher action to protect pension customers – at last!

    At last the FCA will force providers to help customers with unbiased PensionWise guidance. Pension freedoms were always intended to go hand in hand with help for customers to understand the risks of taking money from their pension.   PensionWise service has rave reviews but less than one in ten customers use it before withdrawing or moving their pension money.   Let’s hope providers do ensure their customers take-up PensionWise appointments to help avoid scams or expensive irreversible mistakes and unnecessary tax…

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