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Retirement Planning

Volume 450: debated on Monday 23 October 2006

In the 2002 pensions Green Paper, “Simplicity, Security and Choice: Working and Saving for Retirement” the Government announced their intention to introduce a web based retirement planner.

The service, targeted at those people on low to medium incomes who do not readily have access to financial advice, was intended to inform planning and saving for retirement. The first element of the service, the provision of online state pension forecasts, was delivered, on schedule, in 2004. The remaining elements of the service were due for delivery in 2006.

Earlier this year the Government proposed fundamental reforms in their White Paper, “Security in Retirement” to both the state and private pension systems. In the light of these proposals and their inevitable impact on future pension provision, we carried out a detailed evaluation of whether the planner as developed, could provide people with accurate information during this period of reform.

The evaluation determined that delivering accurate online information about state pensions would become increasingly difficult given the uncertainty about the exact shape of future pension provision. This would also add considerable further cost and complexity. We have therefore decided to suspend further development of the web based planner.

We remain committed to the principle of providing people with information to support retirement planning but are clear that this now needs to be set in the context of the wider White Paper developments.