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Field returns with plan for compulsory second pension

Football fans can go on a spending spree with a new football club affinity credit card, safe in the knowledge that every transaction will benefit the youth development programmes of their favourite club.

The Bank of Scotland card, available at www.football card.co.UK, offers a card with the team logo of 22 clubs from Arsenal to Wolverhampton Wanders.

Former Labour pensions minister Frank Field is set to relaunch his welfare reform campaign to create a compulsory funded second pension which would replace the Government&#39s own state second pension.

His proposals, to be released on September 18, come after claims made in an IPPR report last week that the Government&#39s pension policy is flawed.

Field is calling for a mandatory funded second pension which would take in all new workers from its inception. National Insurance contributions would jump from 10 to 15 per cent to cover the cost of the scheme which would be run at arm&#39s length from the Government by an independent board of trustees.

The trustees would elect a provider or handful of providers to run the scheme and be responsible for the investment decisions.

The Liberal Democrats have offered their support to Field&#39s proposal, saying the plan is similar to their owned second pension account.

The news comes as the Consumers&#39 Association says it is planning to create its own alternative pension policy after a series of discussions with opinion-formers such as Field and the IPPR. Field first tried to persuade the Government about his plans when he was welfare reform minister between 1997 and 1998. He wrote a letter to Prime Minister Tony Blair advocating his case, which was rejected by Downing Street.

A spokesman in Field&#39s office says: “Our plan will involve all the working population in a compulsory funded second pension where the contributions will be invested privately by approved providers independently of the Government.”

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Strong dollar can be a powerful driver of UK dividend growth in 2015

By Robin Geffen, fund manager and CEO 

This year threatens to be a challenging one for UK dividend hunters. Last year saw an all-time record amount paid out in UK dividends — some £97.4bn, according to research from Capita Dividend Monitor. Yet as Capita also pointed out, out the biggest single factor driving the growth in the fourth quarter of last year was easy to identify: the rising US dollar. 

In our view, this trend is much more than simply a one-quarter phenomenon. It is actually the most profound issue to get right as a UK equity income investor in 2015. We believe that the US dollar will continue to strengthen significantly from its current level. This is due more to the US economy’s demonstrable de-coupling from the rest of the world than to a view on the UK. The US has a strong chance of tightening monetary conditions this year without jeopardising growth or de-stabilising its housing market. The same can unfortunately not be said about the UK.

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