The Department for Work and Pensions has launched a new website to communicate widespread reforms to the pension system. It is also encouraging people to plan more effectively for their retirement, combining state and private pensions.
The message from DWP is that life expectancy in the UK is increasing and people working today will probably have 20 years or more of retirement to look forward to. The ‘build a better future’ campaign is designed to help individuals start building towards their retirement, through a combination of state and private pensions.
Changes to the state system
From April 2010, the number of qualifying years needed for full state pension is being reduced for men and women. Instead of needing 44 years and 39 years of National Insurance Contributions (NICs) respectively, the figure falls to 30 years for both sexes.
The state retirement age, after which you can start to receive state pension, is currently 65 for men and 60 for women.It will begin to rise for women from April 2010. By 2020 it will be 65 for both men and women. Between 2024 and 2046 state retirement age will rise again, to 68 (it will reach 66 by 2026, 67 by 2036 and 68 by 2046).
As well as communicating changes to the state pension, the DWP campaign is also introducing the new National Employment Savings Trust (NEST) workplace pension scheme. This will start in 2012, with employers, employees and the government (via tax relief) all paying into a defined contribution pension scheme. It is aimed at those whose employers don’t currently provide a pension scheme. Employees will be auto-enrolled, with the ability to opt out.
The new campaign also aims at encouraging people to consider their retirement options well in advance. It recognises that many will rely on a combination of state and private pension. The DWP is providing online information to help those planning their retirement and has a special ‘build a better future’ telephone information line (0800 678 1132) where callers can receive one-to-one assistance.
Commenting on the DWP campaign, Which? Senior Researcher, Ian Robinson, said: ‘Anything that helps people plan effectively for the future is to be welcomed. The imminent changes are complicated and those who might be affected need to check their position carefully. Hopefully, the new telephone helpline will assist them in this.’
For more information on pensions and retirement options see the Pensions Advisory Service (PAS).
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