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UK gives employees more voice in pensions

UK – The UK government says employees will have more say in pensions changes under new proposed regulations published today.

The Department for Work and Pensions said the new rules would mean that employers would not able to make major changes to their pension scheme without first consulting scheme.

The DWP has released a consultation document under which firms would have to consult with active and prospective members on significant changes to their occupational or personal pension provision.

Pensions minister Stephen Timms said: “Our proposals, which have been widely welcomed, will mean that employees will now have a voice about any important proposed change to their pension scheme.

“It is important that people have an understanding of their pension scheme and feel they also have a part to play in the running of it. These regulations will give members that.

"These regulations provide the fuller detail of the requirements for employer consultation on pension changes which we set out in the Pensions Act 2004."

The consultation runs until August 26 – with the government seeking to implement any changes on April 6 next year.

The requirements will initially affect employers with more than 150 employees – rising to 50 staff from 2008.

Meanwhile, the DWP has revealed a new Pensions Education Fund. The DWP has also asked not-for-profit organisations to come up with ways to encourage people to provide for their retirement and improve working people's financial awareness.

“The fund is part of a programme that brings the government, the wider public sector, and voluntary and community groups together to secure the success of the UK pensions fund and empower people to make their own decisions about their levels of income in retirement,” the DWP said.

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