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Means have no end in sight

OK, so the Chancellor has &#39given&#39an extra £2.5 billion to existing pensioners by extending means-testing. But, surprisingly, no mention of the fact that two million pensioners living on low incomes currently miss out on £2bn by not claiming the benefits already on offer. A depressing statistic the Government&#39s own projections for future take up reflect.

Means-testing demonstrably doesn&#39t work and is clearly unpopular too. Those of us in financial services don&#39t like it because it renders the seemingly simple task of distributing pensions practically impossible. Pensioners don&#39t like it because it is insultingly complex and needlessly intrusive – they dislike it so much that millions of them shun the system. The Government guys, though, clearly like the idea of means-testing. They like it so much, in fact, that this Budget places it, in the form of the Pension Credit, as a central pillar of their pensions policy.

For the uninitiated the Pension Credit was glowingly described in terms of being &#39fair&#39 to modest savers, and in terms of providing &#39extra&#39 money for them. Those of us who properly understand these issues can only sit listening to this stuff and shaking our heads. Happy days.



Financial advisers who use single premium bonds as part of the investment or tax planning solutions they offer probably gave a large sigh of relief following the Chancellor&#39s 2003 Budget. It was widely anticipated that the Government would announce changes to the taxation of life assurance that could affect the much loved 5% withdrawal rule. […]

Inside edge

It doesn&#39t seem that long ago that I was sending a memo to our national salesforce advising that our remaining two participant lenders had withdrawn from the equity-release market. We had been arranging such schemes for clients from the mid to the late 1980s and providing appropriate specialist advice.Many schemes were launched, including the less […]

Jordan leaving Skandia for Widows&#39 marketing role

Skandia head of product marketing Peter Jordan is leaving the company after 10 years to become marketing director at Scottish Widows.Jordan will report to marketing and distribution managing director Nathan Moss and will concentrate on product marketing to the IFA sector as well as Widows&#39 relationship with banks.Moss took over responsibility for marketing at Widows […]

Firms watch Baghdad not Brown

Investment house economists have been left unimpressed by Brown&#39s budget and are continuing to watch the news on Iraq to determine future changes in the world&#39s stockmarkets. Pundits believe the budget will have little impact on share prices as all significant changes were flagged up in the pre budget review or leaked. Framlington head of […]


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