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BeeHive  >  BeeLines  >  The Pension Radar Service - Volume 5

The Pension Radar Service - Volume 5

The pension radar service is running on overtime again as we continue to get daily reports on pension topics emanating from the Mother of all Parliaments.I have some links here to some pretty interesting replies to House of Commons oral and written questions as well as news of some of the pension debates going on in the Lords.(Who said ďOh Great!Ē?)

This first one is on a topic you will know interests me greatly, the Financial Assistance Scheme (FAS).This first link is to a particularly informative exchange between Alan Johnson, the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, and various MPs.It was kicked off by Adam Price of Plaid Cymru.He asked a question echoing one of my own in my recent Beeline on the topic when he enquired how much money would be left over for the other 50,000 people in line for FAS compensation once those within three years of retirement have had their payouts.Youíll remember that Johnson recently announced that those within three years of retirement are going to get bailed out soon, thus pushing the issue into the political long-grass for a while.Anne Begg, the Labour MP, also waded in on much the same point by asking exactly when all those who are now uncertain will be let off the hook, or given the bad news I suppose, depending how it all turns out.

Professor Steve Webb of the Lib Dems moved the debate on to an interesting conclusion by asking why it has been decided that the pensions that are paid out of the FAS will not escalate in payment.He pointed out the obvious fact that once these pensions finally do get to be paid it wonít take them long to reduce in real value if they donít increase.The answer, unfortunately for me at least, wasnít as good as the question, but the whole debate gives some good insights into just what the FAS will and wonít do in practice.

You can read the full text by clicking on the link below.Itís only three pages or so and you can read it with afternoon tea and a biscuit, all sort of civilised likeÖ

Parliament - FAS

This next bit of Parliamentary debate that caught my eye is an exchange between Peter Lilley, an erstwhile Conservative Secretary of State, and Malcolm Wicks, the current Pensions Minister.Itís a good one about my other favourite subject, the Pension Protection Fund (PPF), and picks over the thorny issue of why the Governmentís own pension schemes arenít required to pick up the tab for the PPF alongside private sector schemes.

The link to this interesting part of the grand debate on pensions can be reached by clicking on the following link:

Parliament - PPF

This next oneís a written answer from Malcolm Wicks (again) in response to a written question from Steve Webb.This time the professorís trying to get to the bottom of how lump sums payable to people deferring their Basic State Pension will be treated by the tax and benefits system.Iíve written about State pension deferral before and you can refresh your memory on the topic†if you like.The interesting point brought out in this written answer from the minister is that such lump sums will effectively be invisible to the means-test, but visible to the tax authorities.I was going to write a BeeLine just about this one point, but donít really have the time what with everything else going on right now, so please follow the link to the written response if you want to get up to speed on this.The link follows here:

Parliament - State Pension Deferral

That was an interesting one wasnít it? Iím still trying to work out what it will mean to different people in practice and maybe Iíll come back on it sometime if I think I can make sense of that point.

The next, and last, link in this Radar BeeLine goes straight to the debate in the House of Lords as they have been considering the various Statutory Instruments that are flying around all over the place as the detail of the Pensions Act is being thrashed out.The first bit just lists the so-called delegated legislation being passed, but the link has another link within it to the full debate for those of you who drink coffee late at night and canít sleep.

The main link is here:

Parliament - Pensions Act Regulations

Steve Bee

7 March 2005

All information included has been produced by us for our own purposes and the results of it are being made available only incidentally.