Tag Archives: scheme

Pensions boost: Royal Mail to pioneer ‘third way’ scheme – ‘win-win’ for savers

Savers have been stripped of certainty about their incomes in old age following the closure of final salary pension schemes by companies across the UK, but the Royal Mail is due to pioneer a new model intended to provide greater security and stability. The Collective Defined Contribution (CDC) scheme is designed to provide stronger protection against economic shocks – such as a pandemic – and also help people save towards a clear target income.

A Government source said: “This new ‘third way’ for workplace pensions is a win-win for savers – they’ll have the security of an income in retirement and better return on investment – it’s the best of both worlds.”

The widespread demise of final salary pensions means many people have to rely on Defined Contribution (DC) schemes which offer no certainty about income, and savings can be devastated by inflation and the poor performance of investments.

CDC schemes are intended to offer a new way forward. The Government is confident the new model will deliver higher incomes for the same level of contributions as individual DC pensions.

The consultation will nail down the final details about how the new pensions scheme will work, paving the way for companies across the country to offer these to employees.

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A key difference with DC schemes is that both employers and savers will contribute to a pooled fund which will provide members with a regular income.

It is also expected that CDC schemes will be good for employers, providing greater predictability about their costs and obligations.

The Royal Mail is due to lead the way in rolling out a CDC scheme for more than 100,000 employees. Such schemes are well-established in the Denmark and the Netherlands.

Pensions minister Guy Opperman said: “We have seen the positive effect of these schemes in other countries – and it is abundantly clear that when they are well-designed and well-run they have the potential to provide a better retirement outcome for members, and can be resilient to market shocks such as the pandemic.”

Mr Opperman said savers should not face a choice between “security and affordability”.

Matt Rodda, Labour’s shadow pensions minister, described the new model as “potentially exciting”.

He said: “Pensioner poverty has been on the rise and the Government must do much more to secure a decent standard of living for everyone in retirement. Collective Defined Contribution schemes could be a potentially exciting answer to some of the challenges we face in making sure all workers have a decent standard of living in retirement.

“This consultation is an important opportunity the Government must not squander to make sure that schemes are fair, sustainable and accessible to different types of employers.”

The proposals received a guarded welcome from Daniela Silcock of the Pensions Policy Institute.

She said: “Designed effectively, CDC could provide members with greater certainty and potentially higher retirement incomes. However, in order to ensure sustainability, scheme managers need to ensure that members understand the potential benefits as well as the potential risk – for example, contribution rises or benefit cuts during times of economic shock.”

Former Conservative pensions minister Baroness Altmann also sounded a note of caution, saying that in other countries CDC schemes have had problems “because younger members may end up with lower pensions than older ones if the actuarial and investment assumptions prove incorrect”.

She added: “I can see some employers, such as Royal Mail, feel the need to try to replace traditional [final salary] schemes, which are ruinously expensive now, with something better than DC… Time will tell, however, whether these schemes really do deliver better outcomes particularly for the younger members. “The risks of inter-generational unfairness are clear.. The theory is good, whether such schemes work for members in practice will only become clear over many years.”

Angela Gough, head of corporate pensions at the Royal Mail, said: “[We are] committed to delivering the best possible pension arrangements for our people. We believe a Royal Mail Collective Pension Plan pension scheme would meet our objectives of providing sustainable and affordable future retirement arrangements for our people and our Company.

“The DWP consultation puts us one step closer towards making our plan a reality for Royal Mail and its people. We are working closely with CWU [trade union] and others on this important issue.”

Caroline Abrahams of Age UK added: “The move to defined contribution pensions has left individuals shouldering all the risk in the event that something goes wrong with the investments… There is so much that can go wrong, for example falling victim to a scam, and anything that introduces risk pooling into pensions is a step in the right direction.”

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This post originally posted here Daily Express :: Finance Feed

‘Absolutely brilliant!’ Co-op to launch new ‘extensive’ scheme in 1,500 stores

Supermarkets across the country are doing their bit to help the environment by reducing plastic. Co-op has announced it will roll out a new plastic recycling scheme to thousands of its UK stores

The food retailer has estimated that up to 300 tonnes of plastic bags and food wrapping could be recycled once the bins are in place in all stores.

The new initiative comes after a trial of the recycling points in 50 stores last year.

With 86 percent of shoppers saying they were likely to use the service, the trial proved to be successful.

Co-op explained that, once recycled, the material on the bags and packaging will be turned into granules which are then made into other products.

“This will not only prevent unnecessary waste but also reduce plastic pollution.

“By offering a simple and convenient solution to an everyday issue, we believe we can help communities to make small changes, that together will add up to a big difference for our environment.”

Helen Bird, Strategic Technical Manager from WRAP, added: “There’s no doubt that unnecessary plastic needs to be reduced; including bags and wrapping which is a fifth of all consumer plastic packaging.

“However, where it is necessary it is urgent to design it for recycling and ensure recycling systems are in place.

“It’s great to see the roll out of collections across Co-op’s stores significantly contributing to the goal of The UK Plastics Pact for all plastic packaging to be recyclable by 2025.

“Not only is the Co-op ensuring that the service is widely promoted, it is processing the material within the UK, demonstrating how we can build back better for the economy and environment.”

Co-op customers have already shared their opinions of the scheme on social media, with many expressing their delight at the news.

One person wrote on Twitter: “Absolutely brilliant!”

Another shopper said: “That’s awesome guys.”

One person commented: “Fantastic, thank you so much.”

Another customer added: “You’re going to need a much bigger bin! But good news!”

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DWP urges Europeans to make EU Settlement Scheme claims despite deadline passing

European citizens had until June 30 to apply for the ESS which awarded EEA and Swiss citizens with either settled or pre-settled status. Both of these statuses allowed European citizens to access certain British state benefits, pensions and NHS services.

The Government detailed a person can still apply for ESS beyond the original deadline if they had “‘reasonable grounds” for why it was missed or, they had certain extenuating circumstances.

For some people, the deadline of June 30 2021 did not apply and this would be the case if the claimant was one of the following:

  • The family member of someone from the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein who was living in the UK by December 31 2020, and they joined them in the UK on or after April 1 2021
  • They’re applying for a child, who was born or adopted in the UK on or after April 1 2021
  • The family member of an eligible person of Northern Ireland, but they could not move back to the UK by December 31 2020 without the claimant – they must be from outside the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein
  • Exempt from immigration control, or they stopped being exempt from immigration control after June 30 2021
  • They’re in the UK with limited leave to enter or remain in the UK (for example, if they’re here on a work or study visa) which expires after June 30 2021
  • A family member of a British citizen who they lived with in the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein – they must have lived with them in that country by December 30 2020, and returned to the UK with them

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Those who are applying as a family member of a British citizen who they lived with in the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein, must apply by March 29 2022.

People will also be able to apply for the scheme beyond the June deadline if they remain eligible and can show “reasonable grounds” for why they did not apply by the deadline that applied to them.

The DWP detailed there are “many different reasons” that can be included as reasonable grounds for missing the deadline.

It noted however there is not a “complete list” of reasons available and claimants can still act and have their application considered even if they do not hit certain examples.

On June 30, the Home Office also announced it would accept many claims as on time even as the deadline passed, revealing a certain amount of leeway.

This was due to unprecedented last minute demand, as the Home Office detailed: “We are seeing exceptionally high volumes of applications to the EU Settlement Scheme.

“If you are on the website waiting to apply, please continue. Your application will be accepted as in time, even if it is submitted after midnight.”

It remains to be seen how many claimants apply for the scheme overall but as it stands, around five million Europeans applied prior to the deadline.

Author: Connor Coombe-Whitlock
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When will furlough scheme end? Major changes implemented in days

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), commonly known as the furlough scheme, has been one of the Chancellor’s flagship financial policies during the UK lockdown. The scheme has allowed employers to place employees on furlough during times of uncertainty, meaning employees keep earning and businesses can stay afloat. The scheme is due to end later this year, but there will also be some major changes to the way the scheme runs over the next few months.

What furlough scheme changes will come in for July?

Major changes will start from July 2021 with regards to the furlough scheme.

For May and June, the Government has contributed 80 percent of furloughed employees’ wages, capped at £2,500 per month.

However, from July the amount of Government support is going to start tapering off.

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In July, the Government will contribute to 70 percent of an employee’s wage, capped at £2,187.50 per month.

However, furloughed employees can still expect to get 80 percent of their wages up to £2,500 per month.

This means employers will have to start topping up their employees’ wages by 10 percent, up to £312.50, in July.

For August and September, the Government’s contribution to furloughed employees’ wages will decrease even further.

So there is currently no suggestion that the full furlough scheme will be extended past September either.

The changes to the furlough scheme, along with the planned end in September, will likely cause some uncertainty for many businesses and employees.

Commenting on the changes, Anthony Morrow, co-founder of online financial advice service OpenMoney, said: “While parts of the economy are recovering well from the effects of the pandemic, other sectors are still getting back to normal, and some are yet to fully reopen.”

Mr Morrow added: “For employees on furlough, these changes and the looming closure of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will raise concerns over their future job prospects and the long-term impact of the pandemic on their finances.”

This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Finance Feed

Giovanna and Tom Fletcher apologise for claiming money from furlough scheme after backlash

Giovanna Fletcher, 36, has taken to Instagram to issue a lengthy apology for using the government’s furlough scheme to pay one of her employees during the coronavirus pandemic, despite being worth an estimated £8 million. The star is said to have claimed the funds alongside her McFly guitarist husband, Tom Fletcher, 35, just weeks after winning I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! in Gwrych Castle, North Wales last year.

In view of her two million followers, the mother-of-three addressed the claims which were made over the weekend.

She wrote: “Hi everyone, we’ve always had a very honest and open relationship with you all on here so we thought it was important to address questions that some of you have rightly asked us in the last 24 hours.

“This weekend there was an article in one of the Sunday papers about us using the government furlough scheme.

Giovanna continued: “While parts of the article were inaccurate (including all of the figures mentioned), it is true that we did follow financial advice to furlough someone we employ.”

More to follow…

This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Celebrity News Feed

Brexit row erupts as UK gears up to pull out of €100bn EU scheme – fury at 'point scoring'

Government insiders have accused the EU of “purposely going slow” in approving British participation in Horizon Europe. Tensions between the EU and UK have been building over trade and the controversial Northern Ireland protocol.

Speaking to the Daily Telegraph a top Whitehall source suggested the delay in fully admitting Britain to Horizon Europe is “politically driven”.

They argued Brussels is attempting to put pressure on the UK over Northern Ireland customs checks which are infuriating unionists.

Horizon Europe is the EU’s main research and innovation programme.

It provides grants to institutions and encourages Europe wide cooperation.

According to the Telegraph Downing Street is keen for Britain to participate, but not at any cost.

Unless access is sorted the UK could withdraw from the programme altogether.

Speaking to the paper a Government source said: “The UK remains open to these programmes on the right terms, but the overall attractiveness is being called into question by the EU’s political point-scoring.

“This approach goes against the requirements of the agreement reached with the EU just six months ago, and we expect a swift resolution.

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Under the terms of Boris Johnson’s trade agreement Northern Ireland remains closely tied to the European single market, to prevent a hard border with the Republic.

However this means customs checks are required on goods travelling between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.

Unionists argue this is an unacceptable infringement on British sovereignty, and have blamed it for some supermarket shortages in the province.

Earlier this year the UK unilaterally decided to delay imposing some customs checks, triggering a furious reaction from Brussels.

The EU has now launched legal action against Britain and is threatening additional retaliatory measures.

Loyalist rioting across Northern Ireland in April was attributed in part to anger over the protocol.

Edwin Poots, the new DUP leader, is demanding major concessions from Brussels.

Earlier this month he announced new Brexit checks on pets travelling between Northern Ireland and Great Britain will be delayed.

He commented: “I have written to the EU on behalf of the people of Northern Ireland, highlighting that these requirements for pet travel are not necessary.

“Given that the last case of rabies on these islands was in 1922, these are unnecessary medical interventions.

“This issue is yet another example of why the Northern Ireland Protocol is not fit for purpose.”

This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: UK Feed

Ride an electric bike for free: Government scheme could offer cost-free bikes to millions

And that’s not all.

To further fuel sales, the Government is looking to fund an e-bike purchase subsidy as well as loan schemes.

Bicycle Association executive director Steve Garidis said: “I certainly still think this model has a lot going for it in terms of introducing new people to e-bikes, in an environment in which they may be more comfortable to try a new activity, and which can form a fun part of a holiday. There is a direct benefit at the tourist location if this cuts short trips.”

Cycling minister Chris Heaton-Harris confirmed: “E-cycles could be hugely important to our goal of bringing non-traditional groups to cycling including older and disabled people. We are establishing a national e-bike support programme, which could include loans, ‘opportunity to try’ schemes, subsidies, or other financial incentives, using the learning from other schemes in the UK and abroad.”

This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Tech Feed

EU Settlement Scheme claims goes over 5 million as 'time is running out' for Europeans

EU citizens can apply for the settled or pre-settled status in the UK through the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS), which will allow them to live and work in the UK beyond June. Should an applicant be granted either of these statuses, they’ll then be able to access various state benefits, pensions and NHS services.
“I’m proud that since the EUSS launched in March 2019, more than 5.4 million applications have been made to the scheme and there have already been over 4.9 million grants of status.

“Today’s published statistics reveal the breadth of profiles and geographical spread of applicants so far from across the whole country.”

Those who still need to apply will usually need to have lived in the UK by December 21 2020.

When applying, claimants will need proof of their identity and their residence in the UK, unless they have a valid permanent residence document, or valid indefinite leave to remain in or enter the UK.

Following an application, letters will be emailed to applicants confirming they’re settled or pre-settled status.

Should a claim be unsuccessful, claimants will be able to apply again at any time up until the June 30 deadline.

Additional information or evidence can be submitted following initial attempts.

Full details on the EU Settlement Scheme and its application rules can be found on the Government’s website.

This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Finance Feed