The pensions industry is preparing to launch its own “dashboard” if the government pulls support for a ground-breaking online tracker to help savers see all their pensions in one place. This news is on the back of research that suggests that around 10 million people in the UK stand to retire with £15,000 less if the government scraps the pension dashboard. Doubts over government support for the dashboard have grown after it missed a March deadline to publish details on how the dashboard might work and be made safe for users. In July it was reported secretary of state for work and pensions Esther McVey had moved to kill off the pension dashboard, saying the service should not be provided by the state. Since then Origo, a company that was involved in developing a prototype dashboard, has been canvassing support for an industry-led scheme.
A step towards co-habitation rights?
Family lawyers have welcomed a landmark ruling on unmarried couples’ entitlement to bereavement benefits as a step in the right direction for cohabitation rights. Denying the unmarried mother of four children a widowed parent’s allowance is illegal, the Supreme Court ruled, in a decision that significantly extends the rights of unmarried couples. By a majority of four to one, the court’s justices declared the government’s refusal to pay up to £117 a week in benefits breached the family’s human rights. As such it will put pressure on ministers to consider making urgent changes to the law. Parliament has now been urged to clarify unmarried couples’ rights when one partner dies to avoid people ‘sleepwalking’ into legal difficulties.
Pound plummets as Chequers plan is pounded
The pound has plummeted and put the currency under renewed pressure after Michel Barnier blasted Theresa May’s Chequers plan, becoming the latest to heavily criticise the Prime Minister’s Brexit proposals. After two weeks of improvements as Brexit negotiations enter a crucial stage, pound sterling fell 0.3% in early morning trading to $1.2928 against the US dollar.
The currency, which had come off from a four-week peak of $1.3043 hit on Thursday, had dropped as low as $1.2892. This comes after the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator Mr Barnier said he was “strongly opposed” to key parts of Theresa May’s proposals for a post-withdrawal trade deal, warning Britain can’t “cherry pick” which Brussels regulations it wants to adopt on exiting the bloc.
Brexit: Chequers plan gives no competitive advantage to Britain over EU, UK negotiators admit
British negotiators have openly admitted in Brussels that Theresa May’s Chequers deal will not deliver any competitive advantage to the UK over Europe after Brexit. Furthermore Philip Hammond has warned that the government would have to refocus its priorities if the Brexit negotiations resulted in no deal, as details emerged of a Whitehall contingency plan codenamed Operation Yellowhammer.
Warnings over pension lump sum payments
Operators of costly final salary pensions are being accused of offering overly-generous sums to savers leaving the ‘gold-plated’ schemes. The Pensions Regulator (TPR) wrote to 14 schemes earlier this year to raise a number of concerns around increased levels of transfer activity – demanding the risks were better explained to savers. It noted a spike in people leaving defined benefit (DB) schemes, where income is guaranteed, in return for a one-off lump sum payment. Rising costs mean DB pensions have become scarce in recent years, especially in the private sector, because people are living longer. They have largely been replaced by defined contribution (DC) pensions.
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