Three Of The UK’s Pension Battles Explained

If the UK wants to improve its pension services, it would need guidance. Before guidance, the UK would need to know the wrong in its own society.

According to Andy Haldane, the pension system has become so complex that even he himself considers his knowledge as only “moderate”

The UK has three pension battles that could make it easier for pensioners.

Simplification

The UK’s elderly as well as its young find themselves in trouble because the process is complex. Pensioners couldn’t decipher if their pensions are in a proper or volatile state.

Pensions are affected majorly by inflation and its links to the UK’s stock indexes. If its relationships to these can be clearly explained, the process can be simplified.

A Tool

Previously, the former pensions minister said the UK is behind Australia and Sweden. Both countries have a universal pensions tool that would help citizens manage and figure out the amount they need to save in their pensions.

This would save lots of time with manual explanations and the tool can act as a digital pensions manager on anyone’s behalf.

Tax-relief

It’s nice to know you’re about to have a windfall in the coming month but if you’re blank about the amount you need to contribute for better tax-relief, you might not see that windfall you were hoping for.

Higher-rate taxpayers get half of their tax relief from their pension firms. They get the other half from their taxman using their self-assessment form. It is a difficult process that needs simplification.

The Lack Universal Pensions Dashboard Leaves UK Pensions In the Dust

Former UK Pensions Minister Steve Webb believes the UK’s pension savers are left “in the slow lane” against Australia and Sweden’s pension systems with the lack of a pensions dashboard.

A report from Royal London, where Webb is a director of policy, indicates that the UK’s savers are falling behind Australia and Sweden. The two countries have established a universal pensions dashboard, allowing their savers to monitor their savings pots from a single place.

In this year’ Budget, the Government said a digital pensions dashboard would arrive by 2019. Budget ensured the Government would oversee all industry designs, funds and facility launch.

Before universal pensions, the roll-out of automatic enrolment into workplace pensions and people moving from one job to another makes it difficult to manage their savings pots. Tracking savings makes it difficult according to Webb.

Webb said there is little coordination and clear governance over the efforts of creating a pensions dashboard.

“Citizens of countries such as Australia, Sweden and the Netherlands already have the benefit of access to pensions dashboards where they can see all their pensions in one place.

“It is unacceptable that the UK is in the ‘slow lane’ and our savers are being left behind. Getting the many different parties involved to work together in the interests of the consumer is a big job and may even require legislation.”

Women Told Not To Expect Any Government Help For Pensions

Work and Pensions Secretary Stephen Crabb said women born in the 1950s must not expect government support as they lose a few years without their pension due to a government decision made to accelerate the pension age.

The Women Against State Pension Inequality (WASPI) said the government has a responsibility to protect women with pension troubles, which the government indirectly caused by the government’s failure to inform women immediately about the problematic transition on their part.

Crabb said:

“As far as I can see there isn’t a policy solution emerging out of all these intense discussions that people are coalescing around.

“It is just fiscally impossible. And I think it’s irresponsible of anyone in this House of Commons to try to pretend and lead these women on into thinking that somehow there’s an easy decision to be made.”

Labour responded that with the government’s failure to act, Crabb was “slamming the door” and “washing his hands” of the issue.

According to Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary for Labour Owen Smith:

“There is growing pressure from across the political spectrum for the government to listen to Labour’s demands to bring forward protections to help those who are set to lose out.

“Yet today the newsecretary of state attempted to wash his hands of the issue. However, the Labour party has no intention of letting him off the hook so easily and we will continue to campaign for a fair settlement for the Waspi women.”

Ex-Pension Minister Warns of Unstable Pensions System

Former Labour Shadow Pension Minister Gregg McClymont said during a pension conference said the current pensions system is logical. However he warns of instability within the pension system itself

“The case for pension flexibility lies fundamentally in the fact that annuities as a system … no longer makes sense for the vast majority of people aged 65; we did need more flexibility.

“Taking on all the elements, flat rate state pension, flexibility from the age of 55; you can argue that’s a rational approach. The problem, if a problem is how you want to describe it, is I don’t think that the system is likely to be stable going forward.”

Currently, the ex-shadow pensions minister is the head of Aberdeen Asset Management.

He added.

“Even if we forget about the weaknesses: defined contributions are much smaller than defined benefit contributions; issues around the governance of schemes; people will have less under the new state pension than in the old and pensions flexibility is putting the impetus on people to make complex decisions which they might not be equipped to make at this stage,” he said.

“Leaving aside all those weaknesses, the fundamental problem or issue is there are larger macro trends which are pressing against collective forms of pension provision, both state-based and employer-based.”

He said the three main macro trends affecting pensions were demographic change, fiscal constraints and cultural shift towards individual provision.

“There is a trend of global significance where, for whatever reason, people are less keen to be part of a collective solution in pensions,” he said.

He added there is a tendency to view pensions as separate from the rest of the government’s economic thinking, but this should not be the case.

“Often we think about pensions and savings as in some ways distinct and not inextricably intertwined with the rest of the political economy. I would say they are inextricably linked,” he said.