UK to get yet another pensions review

UK- Just a fortnight after publication of the Pickering and Sandler reviews, the house of commons work and pensions committee has announced the launch of a wide-ranging inquiry into the future of saving for retirement in the UK.

The committee, which scrutinises the expenditure, administration and policy of the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and its associated public bodies, says the move is prompted by growing public concern about pensions. Consequently it will examine the role and policy of the DWP in encouraging increased saving for retirement.

Archy Kirkwood, chairman of the committee, said: "The prime minister has said that he wants to build a consensus on pension policy. I want this inquiry to be the platform on which that consensus can be built".

The committee has outlined a number of topics it will cover including:

-The UK’s pensions predicament compared with other European countries
-The role of the DWP in encouraging saving for retirement
-The means of improving stakeholder pensions and the state second pension to encourage individual saving for retirement.
-The role of tax incentives
-The possibility of individuals be compelled to save for their retirement by the Government.

With regards the last point, the committee says it will look into which 'device' individuals should be forced to save into; how much of their income should they should out aside and whether employers be forced to make contributions.

Responding to the news, the consultant Hewitt Bacon & Woodrow said: “just when we thought the review season on pensions and savings had closed, we now have yet another inquiry to contend with in the coming months.”

The Committee expects to hold oral evidence sessions on the inquiry in the autumn of 2002 and individuals and organisations are it invites interested parties to submit contributions by October 4th.

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