Julian Knight: Now what we need is a rapid move to a citizen's pension
The nettle has been grasped and we're on the way to a fairer state pension system, but let's get there quickly
Sunday 16 October 2011
The Government has done just enough on the age at which women collect their state pension to head off a possible defeat of the Pension Bill.
The changes are, on paper, relatively slight – the date at which the state pension age will rise from 65 to 66 will be pushed back six months to October 2020. This will mean, though, that a cohort of women born in the 1950s will not face a delay of more than 18 months in getting their pension. Some were going to have to wait two years.
All in all, this seems a sensible compromise. There is a real need to get on with the raising of the state pension age if we're going to move to a fairer system which reflects the fact that average life expectancy means you can spend almost as long receiving a state pension as contributing to it.
Raising the state pension age is fairer in another way too. At present, men die on average four years earlier than women, but have to wait five years longer for their state pension – that's nine years. Taken at face value this seems grossly discriminatory against men. Now, of course there are traditionally big differences in the financial position of men and women, which is probably reason enough for this long-standing difference in the state pension age.
But, with a reduction in the number of years to qualify for a state pension – now you only need 30 years' National Insurance contributions, whether you're a man or a woman – and the fact that more women than ever are in the labour market, this state pensions inequality is being addressed rapidly.
Despite the calls from some unions to leave things as they are, it's good to see that the Government is grabbing this particular nettle and getting on with reform. Let's hope we can also see a rapid move to a citizen's pension – which will involve the scrapping of means-tested benefit in favour of a higher basic state pension – and moves on making private pensions much more flexible and attractive to the person in the street.
Fine wines are slipping down
The choice of assets to invest in for above-inflation growth is narrowing all the time. On Friday, it was revealed by Bordeaux Index that the price of fine wine had actually slipped 7.5 per cent in the last quarter, dramatically reversing the trend of the past year or so, which saw investment in wine one of the few stellar performers.
Bordeaux Index put the fall down to buyers choosing to move away from the most tradeable first growths – Lafite, Latour, Margaux, Château Haute-Brion and Mouton Rothschild – to the slightly lower-prestige and hence cheaper vineyards. Reading between the lines, what seems to have happened is that some of the great vineyards, seeing the huge interest from wealthy Chinese buyers, have been ramping up prices and restricting supply. As a result, they have prompted their investors to turn elsewhere. Killing the goose that lays the golden egg springs to mind.
Driving the young off the road
Confused.com says that car insurance quotes in my part of London have risen 13.1 per cent on average over the past year. But that's nothing compared with the pain felt by young drivers who see their premiums now at almost four times the cost of those of a driver of my age. No wonder the Commons Transport Select Committee was recently told that young drivers believe they are being priced off the road. If you're a parent you probably have to cover the costs of your kids' car cover yourself, or place them on your own policy as a named driver. But the technology is there to sort this problem out and deliver more realistic and, frankly, fairer quotes to young drivers – most of whom are responsible.
We have telemetrics to track a driver's speed and times, and help give the insurer as full a picture as possible of any accident risk. There is pay-as-you-go insurance – making it more expensive to go out after dark and on busy roads. And now mycamerawitness has been launched, helping to record a driver's habits, to be scrutinised in the event of an accident and helping cut down on bogus claims.
As I have said before, the insurance industry has to get smart over younger drivers to avoid marginalising a big chunk of the population, and encouraging insurance fraud.
How long for this spokesman?
Finally, after days of vacillation, Labour has unveiled its Pensions spokesman: Gregg McClymont. Gregg who? Well, he's a former political adviser to John Reid and part of the 2010 intake which included his predecessor, Rachel Reeves. He's getting on a bit – at all of 35 – and in the pensions field has an interesting voting record; going against the cross-party concensus on the auto enrolment of individuals into their workplace, or soon to be launched Nest, scheme. He obviously has his own thoughts on pensions and it will be interesting to hear him articulate them. The only question is, will we have the time? The average Labour pensions spokesperson lasts less than 15 months.
Independent Partners; request a free guide on NISAs from Hargreaves Lansdown
Five Questions: Changes to car tax discs
Ticking time bomb: Interest rate rises are coming, so start preparing now
More than 300,000 adults are too deeply in debt to apply for bankruptcy
What is pension death tax, what is going to change and how will it affect you?
Almost two million people are facing winter weather without heating
- 1 Snoop Dogg and Jared Leto buy a stake in Reddit as A-list invests $50m
- 2 Car tax disc changes: Two days to go - and they affect you much more than just not displaying a piece of paper
- 3 Ed Sheeran dedicates song to David Cameron
- 4 Now we know whose fault it is if you end up being murdered in Thailand
- 5 35,000 walrus gather ashore on north-west Alaska beach 'for a rest'
Isis, we are told, is a 'clear and dangerous threat to our way of life'. I’m sorry, but I just don’t buy it
Exclusive: 'Putin's Russia has been my biggest regret,' says Nato's outgoing Secretary General
The Osborne Ultimatum: Chancellor’s benefits freeze bombshell will affect ten million households
There’s no excuse for Dave Lee Travis’s behaviour, but we need to keep a sense of proportion
Should gay sex be illegal? 16% of Britons think so
Mark Reckless becomes second Tory MP to defect to Ukip in a month
- < Previous
- Next >
iJobs Money & Business
£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Real Staffing are currently lo...
NEGOTIABLE: Austen Lloyd: TRUST ACCOUNTANT - KENTIf you are a Chartered Accou...
£18000 - £20000 per annum + OTE £30000: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250 b...
Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: CITY - Law Costs Draftsperson - NICHE...
Day In a Page
Four exclusive apartments in a Grade II-listed former medical school with 2,275 sq ft of living space and 18ft ceilings
A five-bedroom terraced house on the popular Peterborough Estate, ideally located for both Eel Brook Common and South Park
A state-of-the-art farm-building conversion on the former Cliveden Estate, with 11,420sq ft of internal space, cinema and wine cellar
A three-bedroom, 15th-century cottage with original features in the picturesque village of Sissinghurst
A six-bedroom terraced house with large south-facing roof terrace, cinema room and wine cellar
A new seven-bedroom home built in Queen Anne-style with swimming pool and parkland views in Mortimer
A listed, four-bedroom farmhouse in the rural hamlet of Rushall with detached barn, four acres of gardens and paddocks
A first-floor flat with two bedrooms, a spacious reception room and communal grounds in a leafy part of London
A three-bedroom flat with a spacious rootop terrace and balcony, accessed from a private gated courtyard
A Grade II-listed pile with six bedrooms, stables and 39 acres of grounds in Standlake
A two-bedroom flat with boutique hotel-style interiors, close to the foodie haunt of West End Lane
A two-bedroom flat in a beautiful old vicarage, with many original features, close to the city centre
A three-bedroom 16th-century home with an aga kitchen, private gardens and heated outdoor pool, in Hadleigh
A three-bedrom home in sought-after Queen's Gate Mews, with Italian marble-finished bathrooms
Surrounded by glorious countryside in the village of Udimore, sits this impressive four-kiln oast and barn conversion
A five-bedroom house in the picturesque village of Kettlewell, north Yorkshire
An 18th-century former coaching inn with original staircase, open fireplaces and beams throughout
A Grade II-listed Georgian town house with three bedrooms and a south-facing courtyard, near Arundel Castle
Feel on top of the world at this über chic penthouse on the 37th floor of one of Europe’s tallest blocks.
A Grade II-listed Victorian villa with six bedrooms and two further cottages, all with spectacular sea views
A grade II-listed, Georgian cottage with mature 50ft garden, perfect for summer entertaining
A magnificent Georgian pile with turrets, seven bedrooms, a heated pool and four acres of gardens
Fairoak Farm has five bedroom suites, gym, outdoor swimming pool and golf course
Chic two-bedroom river-fronted flat with a private lift that delivers you directly to your home
A spectacular seven-bedroom Tudor pile, once owned by Henry VIII, with 18 acres of land
A seven-bedroom Georgian property previously used as a picturesque wedding venue
A split-level flat in a church conversion with two en suite bedrooms and 1,200sq ft of living space
A three-bedroom bungalow situated behind an impressive stone wall, £645,000
Windsor Castle overlooks this three-bedroom Victorian cottage located on one of Windsor's smartest roads
Chapel House is a former vicarage with nine bedrooms in the beautiful Upper Wye Valley
A five-bedroom B&B and separate owner's accomodation with potential for conversion
Enjoy summer by the Thames in this two double-bedroom converted warehouse in Rotherhithe village
A one-bedroom, luxury apartment with private gym and concierge service in Moorgate
A four-bedroom house in Hermitage Gardens with three reception rooms and landscaped gardens
A seven-bedroom Grade II-listed property with a separate self-contained apartment
A five-bedroom Victorian house with three reception rooms and galleried landing, £695,000
A six-bedroom farmhouse with five acres of land in a former cloth-making village
A secluded seven-bedroom detached house with large private garden, £490,000
A three-bedroom cottage overlooking Sarratt village green with open fires and solid oak floors