Pensions Day to give the public a say on reforms

Hot on the heels of chancellor Gordon Brown calling for the UK to have a ‘British Day’, the government has announced there will be a National Pensions Day.

The public will get a say on the Pensions Commission’s findings, and these results will help to inform a government White Paper.

When the commission reported in November, it recommended the retirement age be gradually raised to 68, and a National Pension Savings Scheme, into which people would be automatically enrolled, with employers also compelled to make a contribution.

“We are determined to reach as broad a national consensus as possible and believe the Pensions Commission’s proposals are the framework to do this,” said John Hutton, secretary of state for work and pensions.

A representative sample of people across the country will be recruited to take part in the National Pensions Day. A ‘toolkit’ will also be developed to allow stakeholders to run their own events and provide feedback on the Pensions Commission proposals. People will also be able to have their say by logging on to the National Pensions Debate website.

Petra Cook, head of public affairs at the Chartered Management Institute, said a national debate on saving for retirement was vital.
“Our research shows that while 70% of employers anticipate that the average age of retirement in 10 years’ time will be 66 or older, 80% expect that they will retire by the age of 65,” she said. “This clearly demonstrates the need to influence personal mindsets about age and work.”

Meanwhile, retail union Usdaw has won government funding to run a pension awareness campaign for its 340,000 members. The campaign will include funding for an Usdaw pensions website, in-depth seminars for union members and home study courses.

Pensions watch

The latest final salary pension scheme closure

The Australian company that owns the Yorkshire and Clydesdale banks has proposed scrapping its final salary pension schemes.

National Australia Bank (NAB) is putting the issue of whether to move to a career average pension scheme to a vote of its 9,000 employees in the UK. The bank has admitted that such a move would reduce the entitlements of some staff, but said that it would make the schemes more secure. Its UK schemes have a deficit of £426m.

Members of the schemes are being asked to vote on the proposed changes by the middle of March.

NAB joins Rentokil Initial, the Co-operative Group, Arcadia, Scottish Power, Scottish & Newcastle and John Lewis, which have all announced changes to pensions provision in recent weeks.

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