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UK to set up pensions ‘delivery authority’

UK - The UK government has confirmed it plans to set up a ‘delivery authority' for pensions.

"A bill will be introduced providing for long-term reform of pensions," Queen Elizabeth said in the state opening of Parliament today.

The bill would introduce the authority - as well as raise the state pension age to 68 by 2046 and restore the link between the state pension and average earnings. Most of the contents were well flagged in the media beforehand.

Details about the new authority were scarce, with a spokesman for the Department for Work and Pensions saying more information would be disclosed when the bill is published. No date has yet been set for that, although it is due "soon".

"Today's announcement will enable the government to take the first steps in addressing the pensions reform in the UK," said Richard Saunders, chief executive of the Investment Management Association.

"We warmly welcome the setting up a Delivery Authority as this will help to ensure that the right, detailed decisions are taken in setting up the NPSS [National Pensions Savings Scheme].
 
"Our view remains that the NPSS holds out the prospect of significantly boosting savings, but critically its success will depend on getting the detail right. We look forward to continuing to work with the Department and the Delivery Authority to help achieve this."

The Confederation of British Industry said: "We welcome the broad thrust of the bill. An easy-to-understand state pension should be the bedrock for any sustainable long-term pensions settlement but the quid pro quo is that the entitlement age will have to rise."

But the government's proposals were not universally welcomed.

The National Association of Pension Funds said the reforms "do not go far enough". 

It added: "There will still be too much complexity and too much means-testing. The State Second Pension reforms are likely to increase costs for employers offering defined benefit schemes.  Ministers should take this into account when they consider our proposals for strengthening good workplace pensions."

"The potential for a long delay before the state pension earnings link is restored will mean that millions of today's pensioners will gain nothing," said David Laws, pensions spokesman for the opposition Liberal Democrats.

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