April 2013 - Pensions
The government has confirmed that the single-tier flat rate pension will be introduced from 2016 instead of 2017 as originally proposed (regular readers will recall we covered the initial proposals in an article February 2013).
In a written statement to parliament, Minister for Welfare Reform Lord Freud said:
'Our 2011 Green Paper 'A state pension for the 21st century' set out the government’s vision for a simpler state pension, which would reward retirement saving and be fairer for those who have historically had poorer state pension outcomes, such as women, the low-paid, the self-employed and those with caring responsibilities.
However, given the positive response to our White Paper, we looked again to see if it would be possible to return to our original timetable and to deliver reform as soon as possible, to support the roll-out of automatic enrolment into workplace pensions and provide certainty for both individuals and their pension schemes at the earliest opportunity.
Therefore, I can confirm today that, from April 2016, those reaching state pension age will do so in the single-tier system’. Lord Freud also highlighted that reform in April 2016 will mean an additional 400,000 people reaching state pension age under single tier - including every woman affected by the acceleration of the state pension age equalisation process in the Pensions Act 2011 - and confirmed that arrangements will remain in place to enable people to pay voluntary national insurance contributions.