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BeeHive  >  BeeLines  >  ProperPensions – a new word…

ProperPensions – a new word…

OK, here's a good one. You may have read in the papers about particular e-petitions that people can sign up to online, hosted by the 10 Downing Street website, and wondered how to do it.  If you haven't had a go yet, we have done the hard work and found out how one goes about putting an e-petition on the No 10 site so that e-petitioners can e-sign it.

As it turns out it's not that hard a thing to do.

So we’ve done it.

The way it works is this; basically anyone can put an e-petition onto the site as long as they are prepared to follow some sensible rules like not being offensive and stuff.  Once the e-petition is on the site people can sign it if they want to add their weight to the point being put forward by the petitioner.  Once a petition has a hundred signatures the Government says it treats it seriously and either the PM or one of his ministers or officials will respond.  But the response doesn’t just go to the petition organiser; each and every signatory gets e-mailed a copy of the Government’s response.

Once someone has submitted a petition and it’s been given the OK to go live they are able to publicise the unique URL (website address) so that people will know where to go to sign it.  The URL in effect needs to be a one-word name for the petition, so the catchier the better I guess.  Anyway, the one we’ve just put up is called ProperPensions, a word I just made up if I’m being honest, but I think it’s got a ring to it.  My spell checker doesn’t appear to like it, so that probably means I can claim to have pushed the boundaries of English that little bit further today already (and it’s not even tea-time!)

So, I’m pleased to say that our petition is now live and anyone can go to the No 10 website and sign it if they want to.  Anyone doing that will be asked to give their name and address and an e-mail address that can be verified.  The system is designed to identify identical names and addresses so no-one can sign a petition more than once (they’ve obviously put a lot of thought into this).  Anyone signing the petition will be sent an e-mail asking them to click a link to confirm they have signed the petition and once that formality’s done with they have signed the petition.  Simple as that.

We’ve looked through the site and there are plenty of petitions that have just a few signatures, loads are in the twenties or thirties, but there are one or two with thousands and tens of thousands of signatures added already.  I’ll probably add my name to the IHT one now I’ve seen it and I’m also interested in some of the other pension petitions that caught my eye and I’ll probably sign those too to give their numbers a boost if I agree with them.  Some of you may want to look at the pension petitions there too and see if you want to add your weight to their cause.

But I suppose you’ll need to know what our petition is all about won’t you?  I mean, I haven’t even mentioned it yet in all the excitement.

You won’t be surprised to hear that I think it’s another good way to get the message across about the dangers of the National Pension Savings Scheme (aka Personal Accounts) being implemented with auto-enrolment in our highly means-tested environment.  The wording of the petition is as follows:

 We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to drop the Government's proposal to auto-enrol millions of people into a national pension savings scheme unless it can first guarantee that every pound saved in the scheme will make savers at least one pound better-off than non-savers.

The Government has proposed a new National Pensions Savings Scheme (also referred to as Personal Accounts) into which millions of employees will be auto-enrolled from 2012 onwards. But the new scheme will be put in place with the current system of means-tested handouts for pensioners left largely in place. The mass provision of means-tested benefits for retired people has the unfortunate effect of making pension savings unsuitable for millions of people in the workforce as the system penalises savers. Under the proposals in the Pensions Bill people who will one day be in receipt of means-tested support in retirement would find that each pound invested in the pension scheme may only yield sixty pence worth of value. That is essentially a tax of 40% for saving. As the proposals in the Bill make it likely that one in three people reaching retirement in the UK will be in receipt of means-tested support, this unfair penalty for saving will potentially affect many pension savers.

If you agree with what’s being said there you can get to the No 10 site (and our own unique URL) by simply clicking on the following link:

If you like you can also send this BeeLine on to millions of other people if you’ve got the time.  You never know, we might start a movement…

Steve Bee

20 February 2007

Source:  10 Downing Street website - E-Petitions

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