No disrespect, but you wouldn't normally expect the Prime Minister of the Netherlands to raise conce...
No disrespect, but you wouldn't normally expect the Prime Minister of the Netherlands to raise concerns about the state of world markets and for it to be taken seriously. But that's what Wim Kok did when he said the current environment in his country and many other major Western markets with record low employment, and booming house prices and stock markets was bringing these countries to the edge of an economic "volcano"
In truly Liberal Dutch fashion he went onto talk about how this current scenario was creating a greater divide between the haves and have-nots in many societies. But the dilemma faced by the Dutch nation is true of many others not least the UK where half the population has less than £750 in liquid savings and investments, with most wealth held in illiquid assets such as housing and pensions
According to the report by the Institute for Fiscal Studies, the most recent figures show that total wealth in the UK amounted to £2,720bn, of which around one-quarter was held in the form of liquid financial assets. The rest was held mainly in housing, pensions and life assurance
Low levels of liquid savings imply that people have few resources with which to cushion spells of unemployment or ill-health, says the report in this issue of Investment Week on page 9. It is a timely report as the industry and advisers struggle to get to grips with the issues of stakeholder pensions, the Government's solution in effect to the lack of wealth of many of the UK population
Also in this issue of Investment Week are some more inciteful and thought provoking comments from Frank Field, the former Government minister tasked with thinking the unthinkable. In his interview Mr Field suggests a genuine way of providing the working population with a way of getting a stake in their workplace through a scheme of options to all employees with a good employment record
The purpose of these options would be use their money as the basis for a genuine retirement fund, a retirement fund which many will realise they cannot achieve on their own if they do not start saving until children have left home or their mortgage is paid off
It is an imaginative and in many ways very workable idea which is thought provoking and may be the start of the solution to creating a truly practical stakeholder solution to problems which at the moment are being tackled with a series of yet more complicated product wrappers
Smoking biggest culprit; obesity second
Average earner will gain £840 in 2018
Will also move heritage items
Responding to letter from Treasury Committee chair Nicky Morgan