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UK government publishes new Pensions Bill

UK - The UK government has published its long-trailed Pensions Bill, including provisions to set up a "delivery authority" for the proposed national pensions accounts system.

The 68-page bill was presented by Secretary of State for Work and Pensions John Hutton but contained few operational details.

"Today's Pensions Bill creates a Personal Accounts Delivery Authority to run the new system of Personal Accounts, but gives no detail as to how Personal Accounts will actually operate," said Donald Duval, chief actuary at Aon Consulting. "This uncertainty makes it much harder for employers to plan for future pension provision."

Duval added: "Despite all the representations that the Government has received about the risk of Personal Accounts undermining existing good employer schemes, there is nothing in the Pensions Bill on this issue. 

"What is needed is simplification of the existing system, and a commitment that Personal Accounts will be targeted on those without pensions, and will not damage existing employer schemes."

Hewitt Associates said it was "apprehensive about the practical aspects of establishing and running the proposed system of Personal Accounts, and we expect that the Personal Accounts Delivery Authority will face significant challenges in establishing a workable system".

The government said the Authority would "bring on board the expertise needed to design a successful personal accounts system which would provide people with a low-cost simple way to save".

It added that detailed proposals for personal accounts will be published in a White Paper in December.

The bill includes proposals to raise the state pension age to 68 by 2050 and restore the link between earnings and the basic state pension.

It's the product of several years of public consultation and debate, and includes most of the main recommendations of Lord Turner's Pension Commission which reported last year.

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