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The death of final salary pensions

Pensioners by the beach
BBC Radio 4's Money Box
Saturday, 30 April 2011 at 1204 BST On Radio 4 and Online

Four out of five companies with final salary pension schemes have closed to new members over the last few years- but why?

Money Box investigates what has changed over the last four decades that has made this type of pension unsustainable.

Paul Lewis explores how laws that were supposed to improve employees' rights actually increased the cost of running a scheme. These included allowing people to keep their pensions when they changed job, and ensuring that payments rose with inflation throughout retirement.

Changes to taxation also played a part, with changes made by Chancellor Nigel Lawson as well as Gordon Brown. Those managing the schemes got their forecasts wrong. They did not realise that people were living longer and investments in the stock market would not make the returns that had been expected.

Paul Lewis talks to a range of experts about the demise of these defined benefit schemes:

Ros Altmann, Director General of Saga,

Ronnie Bowie, President of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries

Bob Scott, partner at Lane Clark Peacock,

Niki Cleal, Director of the Pensions Policy Institute,

Prof David Blake, Director of the Pensions Institute at Cass Business School,

John Ralfe, pensions consultant who was formerly in charge of the Boots pension scheme

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BBC Radio 4's Money Box is broadcast on Saturday at 1204 BST and repeated on Sunday at 2102 BST.



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