Pensions

Work and Pensions written question – answered on 4th March 2014.

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Photo of Jim Shannon Jim Shannon Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Health), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Transport), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Human Rights)

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will take steps to help those with pensions which are worth significantly less than they anticipated when purchasing those pensions.

Photo of Steve Webb Steve Webb The Minister of State, Department for Work and Pensions

It is important that promises made to pension scheme members are met. For defined benefit pensions—where the scheme sponsor promises a specified, usually salary-related, pension—we have a protection regime in place. This includes requirements on how schemes are funded and provision for member compensation.

For defined contribution pensions, there is not a promise to the member on the amount of pension benefit they will receive as this will depend on factors such as the contribution level and investment performance.

However, even when there is no promise, it is crucially important that members are given meaningful, clear and transparent information about their pension schemes by scheme managers and trustees. In recognition of this we have revised the disclosure regulations with effect from 6 April 2014 to simplify Statutory Money Purchase Illustrations' (SMPI) requirements. On 24 February we also announced new measures requiring transparency for transaction charges in pension schemes. We tabled an amendment to the Pensions Bill 2013 to introduce this latest step in the Government's wider plans to ensure consumers receive value for money from their pension savings. Accordingly, our response to the consultation on charges, and further proposals on quality and transparency in workplace pension schemes, will be published soon.

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Annotations

George Morley
Posted on 5 Mar 2014 3:51 pm (Report this annotation)

You said :It is important that promises made to pension scheme members are met.
In my view a pre-election statement is in effect a promise to carry out some change to a particular situation and you have failed miserably in this respect and I wonder that you can say this without blushing.
The frozen pension issue is such and it is not until one retires that the true situation is apparent. From day one of my working life there was never any mention of not receiving an indexed pension.
Your view now seems inconsequential having turned your head away even though many have importuned for justice and inveighed against the policy, there is no satisfaction by the governments who are eleemosynary towards these deprived pensioners because of a minister and government that will not conform to good moral and ethical principles.

Jane Davies
Posted on 5 Mar 2014 4:39 pm (Report this annotation)

Just remember Mr Webb, the frozen few are listening, via social media, everything you say. How you promise this and that for the pensioners. We also hear the silence on this issue, we hear your lame excuses when challenged about this injustice. We heard you before you became pensions minister when you said that all of those who contribute to the state pension should be getting yearly up-rating and where they happened to live was not relevant. You are still saying promises made to pension scheme members are met. Well they are not, the 4% are still waiting for you to end this disgraceful treatment, they are scheme members too yet many have lost thousands of pounds over the decades. It beggars belief that a government can rob it's own seniors in this way and STILL you do nothing about it.

Norma Maloney
Posted on 5 Mar 2014 5:44 pm (Report this annotation)

Mr Webb, I wonder how you can sleep at night when 4% of pensioners can not sleep through worry about how they are going to pay any bills, put food on the table and pay for accomodation. Yes minister, I am talking about those 550,000.00 thousand pensioners living in the mostly commonwealth countries. Some of them in their ninties who have had their pensions frozen since they reached retirement. Why? you may ask have they moved overseas? Some have worked overseas having been sent there by their companies. Some to join family and loved ones. It mayhap be to late for the hundreds who have passed on to their maker, at least the worry is over for them, may the Lord now give them peace. You Mr Webb and your cohorts could change this cruel, unjust, and discrimination policy, DELETE CLAUSE 20 before it is too late for hundreds more. Otherwise many of them will be forced to return and live off your government, housing, care, health services, winter fuel payment etc. Do you think your government could cope even if half of these = 275000,00 pensioners were to return. I think not.

Andy Robertson-Fox
Posted on 6 Mar 2014 9:05 am (Report this annotation)

At it again then Mr Webb?...saying things that sound good in relation to private pension schemes and at the same time ignoring 4% of those who have contributed to the very scheme for which you have direct reponsibility - the National Insurance Scheme and State Retirement Pension.
The House Rules require that we are nice to each other...it is difficult when dealing with someone whose approach to frozen pensioners is so hypocritical but I do not have to elucidate, do I?
The justifable condemnation of this current policy and of you for perpetuating the discrimination in Clause 20 are an indictment of parliament.
That basic principle of fairness you advocated in the Pension Reform Bill Green Paper was soon forgotten wasn't it?

Jane Davies
Posted on 6 Mar 2014 4:27 pm (Report this annotation)

The frozen 4% are not going to go away Mr Webb.