The pensions great escape

As we listened and watched The Budget across our business, we were all quite relieved that, for once, pensions seemed to have escaped The Chancellor’s attention. It could even be a first!

The only mention of pensions was to increase the lifetime allowance for pension savings from £1m – £1.03m for 2018-19 in line with CPI inflation. It was expected and it is nothing major.

With so many major changes over the last few years, the industry has been lobbying government to be left alone. We want to bed-in, develop and streamline what we already have and it seems that The Chancellor agreed. Our efforts going forward should be to keep improving what we have.

Many people are still getting to grips with the existing and often complex rules and we probably have Brexit to thank for keeping pensions under the radar. The government has far too much to deal with on that front – and administering any pension changes would have been too great a burden.

However, pensioners with savings will be disappointed in the Budget. If they were looking for any good news – the silence was deafening.

Many older people are also very concerned about social care and how long term care will be funded. Again, despite this being a huge political and social issue which is only going to get worse – nothing.

This was a Budget very much aimed at luring some younger voters back from Labour. The abolition of stamp duty for first time buyers, the development of new build homes, the rise in the National Living Wage, an investment in math’s and science teachers and even the extension of the young person’s railcard to 30 year olds, are not measures of any benefit to the over 60s.

However, despite the fact we have nothing new to contend with, there is still much to do with what we do have.

Next year, we can expect publication of the DB white paper and this will be crucial for the industry as it is likely to be our last chance to get it right for the future.

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