• PENSIONSANDSAVINGS.COM

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

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    Author: Ros Altmann

    Making the State Pension more flexible should focus on State Pension Age

    Making the State Pension more flexible should focus on State Pension Age

    State Pension flexibility could be welcome, but for State Pension Age, not amount of pension. Just allowing people to take part of their State Pension, while still requiring them to wait to an ever-rising State Pension age, will not remedy the injustices in the current system. We already have the lowest state pension in the developed world and receiving only part of it will just add complexity, but will not help those in failing health or caring for others. Current…

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    Social Care crisis – shocking figures reveal discrimination against privately-run care homes

    Social Care crisis – shocking figures reveal discrimination against privately-run care homes

    Shocking figures suggest councils are discriminating against privately-run or charity care homes, which is worsening the care crisis. Local authorities pay up to 60% more for same care in council-run homes while refusing to cover the costs of elderly residents in private or charity-run care homes. Figures show local authorities paying only around £450 a week to independent homes, but over £700 a week for the same care in local council-run care homes. CQC seems to be failing in its…

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    Bank of England must not cut rates this week

    Bank of England must not cut rates this week

    Latest forward-looking indicators are positive so using pre-election economic weakness to justify rate reductions makes no sense . Who will benefit from lower interest rates anyway? Mortgages may be cheaper but house prices and rents may rise, and banks have not passed on rate reductions to consumers. Higher credit card and overdraft rates and more consumers using buy now pay later schemes are weakening household finances. Apparently there is talk of the Bank of England deciding to reduce interest rates…

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    State Pension after Brexit and frozen pensioners

    State Pension after Brexit and frozen pensioners

    Good news for British expats in Europe as Withdrawal Agreement guarantees their State Pensions will not be frozen. Government should now reassure these pensioners that, whatever happens after 2020, they have lifelong state pension uprating.   However this is only for expats already in Europe by year-end. Government must warn people of the risk that future retirees who move to Spain, France or other European countries after 2020 may have their pension frozen. This note deals with the question of…

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    NHS pension crisis won’t be solved by tinkering with the taper rules

    NHS pension crisis won’t be solved by tinkering with the taper rules

    NHS pension crisis won’t be resolved by raising Tapered Annual Allowance threshold.  Senior staff need certainty that their pension ‘benefits’ do not become a costly penalty for extra work. Government must abolish unworkable taper rules, not just tweak them. I have suggested my own 10-point action plan for addressing the crisis.   It is of course reasonable for the Government to look to control the costs of tax incentives: The TAA was originally announced as reducing the £40,000 annual contributions…

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    Let’s celebrate the PPF’s success

    Let’s celebrate the PPF’s success

    Let’s celebrate the Pension Protection Fund as Carillion becomes its 1000th pension scheme.    PPF has been a real success story, with around a quarter of a million members having their pensions underwritten after their employer schemes failed.    Before PPF existed, members could lose their entire life savings and their pension. I am delighted to see the ongoing success of the Pension Protection Fund (PPF). Carillion has just become the 1000th scheme to enter the pensions lifeboat and its…

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    Govt commitment to reform NHS pensions may pave the way for radical pension tax relief reform too

    Govt commitment to reform NHS pensions may pave the way for radical pension tax relief reform too

    Could Government commitment to sort out NHS pensions herald radical pension reform?  NHS problems are canary in the coalmine showing need to urgently change pensions tax rules.  Tapered Annual Allowance and Lifetime Allowance should be changed or abolished.  Reforming the £50billion annual cost of pensions tax reliefs (which gives top earners most help) could raise much-needed revenue AND improve pension outcomes. Reforms that could introduce new one-nation pension incentives and also save money include: Give everyone the same top-up to…

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    Time for Government to force pension firms to send plain English statements to their customers so they can understand pensions

    Time for Government to force pension firms to send plain English statements to their customers so they can understand pensions

    Government should force pension firms to send simpler, standardised annual statements.   It’s time for pension providers to help customers understand their pensions, not leave them baffled by jargon. Pensions Dashboard will not work without standardisation – and accurate data.   Annual pension statements could be sent for customer’s birthday wishing ‘many happy returns’! New statements should be promoted and explained by national public information campaign. Showing forecast pension at two ages e.g 60 and 67 could offer positive behavioural…

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    Conservative Manifesto pensions tax commitment would give over a million low paid women more money

    Conservative Manifesto pensions tax commitment would give over a million low paid women more money

    Net Pay Action Group has ‘oven-ready’ proposals to end injustice of forcing low-paid workers to pay 25% surcharge on their pensions.  New Government can improve income and pension prospects for more than one million women.  Honouring the Conservative manifesto commitment will ensure lowest earners get the Government contribution to their pensions.   The Net Pay Action group has submitted proposals that will allow the Government to honour its manifesto commitment to address the injustice faced by workers earning below £12,500…

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    Britain sinking deeper into debt as more consumers buy on high-interest credit

    Britain sinking deeper into debt as more consumers buy on high-interest credit

    Ultra-low interest rates are not feeding through to individual consumers.   Since 2009, credit card lending now 40% higher and household non-mortgage debt up 52.6%.   Average adult pays nearly £1000 a year in interest as retailers increasingly use buy now, pay later. 40% of working age people have under £100 in savings and are vulnerable to any economic weakness. Should Regulators curb unsecured borrowing at high rates given indications that we may be repeating mistakes that caused the financial…

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