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EDITIONS
 Tuesday, 17 December, 2002, 16:20 GMT
Pensions proposals at-a-glance
A red moneybox and some coins
People need to save more for retirement
Here are the main points of the pensions green paper:

  • The government must address the problem caused by the increase in the number of people who are expected to live beyond retirement age.
  • Government is sceptical about compulsion because individuals are best placed to judge their own needs.
  • People must save more or work more.
  • Three million middle class people are not saving enough at the moment.

    State pension

  • Linking the state pension to earnings would not be sustainable in the long-term.
  • Government also rejects plans to scrap means-tested benefits and add them to the basic state pension because it would take money away from the poorest pensioners.
  • State retirement age will not be raised.
  • People who defer their state pension to 70 may be able to get a lump sum of 20,000 on top of their normal pension, 30,000 for a couple.
  • Self-employed can opt-in to second state pension.

    Occupational pensions

  • New pensions regulator to be created, focusing on schemes with a high risk of fraud or maladministration.
  • Main Pickering recommendations accepted, including simplifying occupational pensions and abolishing the Minimum Funding Requirement and Guaranteed Minimum Pension.
  • Single tax regime for pensions to be introduced.
  • Employers can make membership in a pension scheme a condition of employment.
  • Compulsory retirement age to be scrapped.
  • Public service retirement age to be raised to 65 for new entrants, with the option later to offer to existing public sector workers.
  • People will be allowed to work after receiving their occupational pension.
  • Raise the earliest age from which a pension can be taken from 50 to age 55 by 2010

    Personal pensions

  • Individuals would be able to contribute up to 200,000 per year to their pension scheme, and a lifetime limit of 1.4m.
  • The tax free lump sum would remain.
  • Annuities may be reformed by introducing limited period annuities which could be bought for a set period of time, or "value protected" annuities which would pay out a lump sum if the holder died before the age of 75.

    Other issues

  • Sandler recommendations on the simplification of savings will be accepted, such as introducing more low-cost personal pensions, coupled with cheaper financial advice to ensure more money is put towards savings.
  • Age discrimination legislation to be introduced.
  • Independent pension commission headed by Adair Turner, former Director General of the CBI, to examine whether there is a case for moving beyond voluntarism to compulsory pensions
  WATCH/LISTEN
  ON THIS STORY
  The BBC's Jenny Scott
"We're simply not saving enough"
  David Willetts, Conservative MP
"This could potentially affect the livelihoods of thousands of people when they retire"
  Tom Ross, head of the Pensions Policy Institute
"The government seems reluctant to address the issues"

Government plans

Help and analysis

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TALKING POINT
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