• PENSIONSANDSAVINGS.COM

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

  • pensionsandsavings.com

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    Category: UK Economy and Economic Policy

    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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    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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    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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    Pensions tax relief changes – legacy of Gordon Brown’s pension raid should be a warning to the new Chancellor

    Pensions tax relief changes – legacy of Gordon Brown’s pension raid should be a warning to the new Chancellor

    Removing higher rate tax relief from pensions is a lose-lose proposition which helps nobody and hurts millions.  Reforming pension incentives is enormously complicated and Treasury should beware of unintended consequences. Recent changes to Pension Allowances designed to reduce pension tax relief for higher earners  fuelled an NHS crisis, showing the dangers of chasing political headlines and short-term cost saving. Government should not be undermining saving incentives when debt is already at record levels.  Any reform of tax relief should improve…

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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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    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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    Conservative Election Manifesto pension policies are worth highlighting

    Conservative Election Manifesto pension policies are worth highlighting

    At last, recognition of injustice for lowest earners, mainly women, forced to pay 25% extra for their pensions in auto-enrolment. Deal with NHS pensions crisis in 30 days – which hopefully will herald radical overhaul of annual and lifetime allowance problems for all. Revival of Pensions Bill quickly for Pensions Dashboard and better Regulator powers. Encourage pension funds to increase long-term investment in scientific development. But more to do on State Pension problems. After this weekend’s bombshell announcement by Labour…

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    Progressive reform agenda to improve quality of life for older citizens, especially women

    Progressive reform agenda to improve quality of life for older citizens, especially women

    Here are some thoughts about urgent policy proposals to improve the fairness of the National Insurance system for women and for the aging population. Top 5 policy recommendations:    Extend triple lock to Pension Credit for oldest, poorest pensioners. Allow early access to State Pension for ill-health, long service or carers. Recognise WASPI concerns and address hardship caused by increased state pension age. Remove National Insurance loopholes that cause women to lose State Pension credits. Offer free personal social care…

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    Proposals to allow pension withdrawals for house purchase are dangerous

    Proposals to allow pension withdrawals for house purchase are dangerous

    Encouraging younger savers to spend their pensions before retirement runs huge risks. Confusing shorter-term cash savings for house deposit with long-term investing for pensions will damage retirement prospects for many. People need pensions to supplement very low State Pension in retirement. More money for house deposits may be popular short-term but could just raise house prices further – boosting demand without expanding supply of homes for sale is not a solution. Don’t muddle pensions with house-buying: Policy proposals suggesting people…

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