After a long and (reasonably) quiet summer it seems the government, in particular the Department of Work and Pensions, has saved up all their best work for the autumn.
Before the end of the year the government has promised the pensions industry a veritable feast of delights with some of the more promising events expected to occur in the pre-Budget Report.
However, before then we are all, of course, no doubt holding our breath in expectation of what the second pensions white paper will tell us about personal accounts.
And as it has changed from a technical paper to a white paper, which is meant to be a statement of intent (although look how green the last paper was), it should be interesting to see whether the DWP boffins have managed to come up with a solution as to how it should be designed and operated and just how it is going to fit into the pensions market.
As the government has stated the paper will be released in the autumn, which as specific as ever could mean any date up until the Christmas recess (which by the way falls this year on 20 December), I am surprised nobody has yet set up a sweepstake to try and guess the publication date.
Now there’s an idea!
Meanwhile, not content with bestowing this gift of no doubt a couple of hundred pages, the DWP is also planning to publish feedback about the response to the white paper consultation at the end of October.
It has also been suggested the DWP might, at the same time, get around to publishing a response to the findings by the Public Administration Select Committee (PASC) which sided with the Parliamentary Ombudsman by finding the government guilty of maladministration in relation to people who lost their pensions when their schemes wound up.
In addition, the Queen’s Speech, which is expected on 15 November, is also believed to include details of the state pension reforms such as the increase in the state retirement age and the re-linking of the basic state pension to earnings.
We will all be eagerly awaiting the publication of the first Pensions Bill to see whether the government has decided to go ahead in setting up the proposed delivery authority for personal accounts, although whether this will actually appear this year or whether it will be delayed until spring following the comprehensive spending review, is something we shall have to wait and see.
If that isn’t enough to get you all excited and eagerly looking ahead to the end of the year, it seems this year’s pre-Budget report could be just as interesting as last year with the issues of alternatively secured pensions (ASP), scheme pensions and the financial capability strategy all expected to rear their heads.
Although the government may alter ASP or scheme pensions in any way which means a yet greater mass of ‘notes’ which accompany any speech, I’m looking forward to seeing exactly how the Treasury plans to handle ASP and in particular whether Ed Balls was right in kick-starting all the fuss or whether the government wishes he’d kept his mouth shut – although I’m sure they’ll phrase it more politely.
Now you know the extent of the treats the government has lined up for us all, if you aren’t all rushing to book the next two months off as holiday, then I wash my hands of you and will point out if necessary that you were warned in advance!
If you have any comments you would like to add to this story or would like to speak to its author about a similar subject, telephone Nyree Stewart on 020 7968 4558 or email [email protected]IFAonline
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