Having taken a kicking in the local and mayoral elections, the government must be praying for an extended warm spell, as it will provide much needed distraction and people will abandon their principles in order to make a start on their tans.
It’s because we are so bad at seeing the ‘big picture’ that many of us can expect to live on considerably less than we had believed possible or be forced to work to make ends meet.
2012 will augur the new age of personal accounts (PAs) and the transition of baby-boomers into the ranks of the retired.
It may prove also to be the nexus between the hamburger and cat food generations as the population moves from ostentatious and excessive spending to abject poverty. A benefit may be a reversal of obesity trends, but being thin and fit is not so great if you know you’ll live longer in penury…
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But there has been good news that will have warmed the heart of the most extreme of Euro-sceptics. The EU has finally accepted that auto-enrolment isn’t actually contrary to European law, so we can, in good heart, ensure that everyone can join PAs in 2012.
NAPF chief executive Joanne Segars said the EU had made the right decision: “This is welcome news for both employers and the pensions industry as a whole. It should materially help the introduction of auto-enrolment as proposed in the government’s 2012 pension reforms.”
She added: “This issue had been the elephant in the room for far too long and now it has been resolved, we can move forward.”
Well, I’m sorry Joanne, but I don’t agree. Firstly, we could have done what almost every other EU country does with EU law it doesn’t like and ignored it.
But the main problem for me is that this does nothing to address the very real, extant and quite probably the greatest of all the elephants that have been cluttering this room, which is not just getting people into PAs, but keeping them in.
The government is simply wrong to believe that levels of opt-out accompanying the introduction of PAs will be minimal. But only time will tell.
On a different theme, nearly nine out of 10 pension schemes welcomed the Pensions Regulator’s codes of practice and guidance, according to the latest Capita Hartshead pensions admin survey, published this month.
An impressive 84% felt the regulator has used its statutory powers correctly since inception in 2004. But we know of one individual who disagrees, and who has submitted his case to the pensions ombudsman.
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