Money News: Insurers resist pension scheme with 0.3% cost

The proposed new national pension savings scheme cannot be run at an average charge to savers of just 0.3 per cent, the Association of British Insurers (ABI) has warned.

The fee is too low and wouldn't cover the cost to providers of getting the planned private pension arrangements into the UK's workplaces, it added.

Instead, the ABI said its members could manage "partnership pension" funds at an annual management charge (AMC) of 0.6 per cent. They would then be able to market "portable, personal accounts" for all workers.

A £57bn gap has opened between what Britons are saving and what they will need to live comfortably in retirement. The planned scheme, which would automatically enrol staff when they join a company, is one of the Pensions Commission's proposals to solve this looming crisis. Other suggested reforms include raising the retirement age to 68 and linking basic state pension rises to inflation.

The ABI was responding to the Government's consultation on the reforms. It also recommended the creation of a new "economic regulator" to monitor fees, charges, incentives and contributions. However, it has rebuffed the commission's challenge to come up with a 0.3 per cent product.

A low AMC has a huge impact on savers' returns over the long term. But insurers argue that stakeholder pensions - low-cost alternatives to standard personal pensions - have not been widely taken up because companies could not afford either to market them or offer sales advice.

Base rates on hold: Where next for the cost of borrowing?

The Bank of England has left base rates on hold at 4.5 per cent for the sixth month in a row.

After recent signs of slower economic growth, weaker-than-expected consumer spending, higher unemployment and a subdued housing market, the decision by the Bank's Monetary Policy Committee last week had been broadly expected by City analysts and the financial markets.

Although many believe the next move in interest rates will be down, to help counter these economic difficulties, others argue that higher oil prices and other inflationary pressures could prompt a move upwards instead.

The last time the Bank changed the base rate was in August last year, when it notched down the cost of borrowing by a quarter point from 4.75 per cent.

The latest decision came as the Halifax, the UK's biggest mortgage lender, unveiled figures on the health of the UK housing market. Annual house price inflation was running at 5.1 per cent last month, it said, leaving the average house price at £170,833.

This annual rate of growth matched predictions two weeks ago from Nationwide building society.

However, the Halifax's monthly survey clashed with that of its rival. It said that, nationally, prices fell by an average of 0.4 per cent in January - compared with Nationwide's indication of a 1.4 per cent rise.

This difference is usually down to the size and make-up of the survey sample.

"Despite this fall, the housing market remains underpinned by a combination of economic expansion, historically low interest rates and high employment," said Martin Ellis, chief economist at the Halifax.

Insurance: You couldn't make it up

Errant zebras, curious cows and a frozen squirrel topped a list of the most unusual - and successful - car insurance claims received last year by Norwich Union.

While most claims are a result of incidents between motorists, or poor driving or parking, the insurer has compiled its bizarre alternative list to remind drivers of the importance of staying alert.

"We see a lot of strange claims," said a spokes-woman, "but we were surprised at the number involving animals and food. We can hardly tell drivers to beware of flying kebabs and frozen squirrels when they're on the roads, but this shows how important it is to be aware of what's going on around you at all times."

Last year's claims included the following.

"A zebra collided with my car when I was in a safari park."

"A frozen squirrel fell out of a tree and crashed through the windscreen on to the passenger seat."

"A herd of cows licked my car and caused damage to the paintwork."

"A wasp went down my trouser leg, which made me hit the accelerator and prang the car in front."

Every claim was legitimate and the insurer paid.

Self-assessment: Call for different tax deadlines

MPs on the Public Accounts Committee have suggested that deadlines for self-assessment tax returns should be staggered to relieve pressure on both individuals and the tax system. A choice of filing dates for different groups of taxpayer could make it easier to return the forms on time, the committee's chairman, Edward Leigh, said last week.

Despite early-warning letters and advertising campaigns by HM Revenue & Customs, millions of people still struggled to get their forms in by the 31 January deadline, he said. A £100 fine is automatically levied if taxpayers miss this cut-off point, and there are extra penalties for further delays.

Nearly one million - one in 10 - self-assessment taxpayers are estimated to have failed to meet the deadline this year.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Joel Edgerton, John Turturro and Christian Bale in Exodus: Gods and Kings
film Ridley Scott reveals truth behind casting decisions of Exodus
News
people
Sport
footballArsenal 2 Borussia Dortmund 0: And they can still top the group
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
An unseen image of Kurt Cobain at home featured in the film 'Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck'
filmThe singers widow and former bandmates have approved project
News
Andy Murray with his girlfriend of nine years, Kim Sears who he has got engaged to
peopleWimbledon champion announces engagement to girlfriend Kim Sears
Arts and Entertainment
Jake Quickenden and Edwina Currie are joining the I'm A Celebrity...Get Me Out Of Here! camp
tv
Arts and Entertainment
George Mpanga has been shortlisted for the Critics’ Choice prize
music
News
Albert Camus (left) and Jean-Paul Sartre fell out in 1952 and did not speak again before Camus’s death
people
Arts and Entertainment
Roisin, James and Sanjay in the boardroom
tvReview: This week's failing project manager had to go
News
Ed Miliband visiting the Holocaust museum in Jerusalem. The Labour leader has spoken more openly of his heritage recently
newsAttacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But are the barbs more sinister?
Arts and Entertainment
'Felfie' (2014) by Alison Jackson
photographyNew exhibition shows how female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising
News
i100
Life and Style
Fright night: the board game dates back to at least 1890
life
Environment
The vaquita is being killed by fishermen trying to catch the totoaba fish, which is prized in China
environmentJust 97 of the 'world's cutest' sea mammals remain
Finacial products from our partners
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    Langley James : IT Support; Helpdesk, VMware; Manchester, £18k

    £16000 - £18000 per annum: Langley James : IT Support; Helpdesk, VMware; Manch...

    h2 Recruit Ltd: Business Development Manager - HRO - £70k+ ote

    £35000 - £450000 per annum + £3k car, £70k ote: h2 Recruit Ltd: Do you want to...

    Citifocus Ltd: Newly Qualified Accountants - Risk Mgmt

    £Attractive Package: Citifocus Ltd: Prestigious financial institution seeks to...

    Citifocus Ltd: Operational Risk Analyst

    £Negotiable: Citifocus Ltd: Experienced operational risk professional with ban...

    Day In a Page

    Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

    Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

    It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
    Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

    Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

    The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
    Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

    Sarkozy returns

    The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
    Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

    Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

    Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
    Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

    Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

    Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game
    There's a Good Girl exhibition: How female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising

    In pictures: There's a Good Girl exhibition

    The new exhibition reveals how female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising
    UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover - from advent calendars to doll's houses

    UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover

    It worked with cupcakes, doughnuts and macarons so no wonder someone decided to revamp the humble biscuit
    Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

    Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

    It's no surprise that the building game born in Sweden in 2009 and now played by millions, has imitators keen to construct their own mega money-spinner
    The King's School is way ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology

    Staying connected: The King's School

    The school in Cambridgeshire is ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology. Richard Garner discovers how teachers and pupils stay connected
    Christmas 2014: 23 best women's perfumes

    Festively fragrant: the best women's perfumes

    Give a loved one a luxe fragrance this year or treat yourself to a sensual pick-me-up
    Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain celebrates century with trademark display of speed and intuition

    Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund

    The Ox celebrates century with trademark display of speed and intuition
    Billy Joe Saunders vs Chris Eubank Jnr: When two worlds collide

    When two worlds collide

    Traveller Billy Joe Saunders did not have a pampered public-school upbringing - unlike Saturday’s opponent Chris Eubank Jnr
    Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

    Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

    Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
    Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

    Putin’s far-right ambition

    Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
    Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

    Escape to Moominland

    What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?