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Pensions: Forecasts

Volume 464: debated on Monday 8 October 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions for what reason the Retirement Pension Forecasting Team is no longer able to provide forecasts of additional state pensions; when the situation will be resolved; and how many people he estimates will be affected. (154879)

[holding answer 10 September 2007]: The computer systems used to produce state pension forecasts are being updated to reflect the new state pension rules included within the Pensions Act 2007 and therefore the Pension Service retirement pension forecasting team is temporarily unable to provide a state pension forecast to people who reach state pension age on or after 6 April 2010. We aim to have the system changes in place by autumn 2008.

People reaching state pension age after 2010 who contact the Pension Service retirement pension forecasting team will still be able to obtain personalised information including:

an indication of the current number of qualifying years and how many more are needed to get a full basic state pension under the new rules; and

details of how changes to the state pension rules may affect the individual’s state pension position.

This means people can still receive the help they need to plan for their retirement, and the vast majority of customers using these transitional arrangements have been happy with the service provided.

People who reach state pension age before 6 April 2010 can continue to receive state pension forecasts from the retirement pension forecasting team. These forecasts include information on both basic and additional state pension.

Approximately half of the people who use the forecasting “on request” (either online or by phone) service are affected by the current suspension. Based on previous requests for state pension forecasts in 2005-06 we estimate the suspension will impact 300,000 individuals.

The combined pension forecasting service is also suspended until autumn 2008 and this affects approximately 4 million individuals.

In the meantime the Pension Service are working closely with their IT suppliers to explore ways in which the timetable for reflecting state pension changes in state pension forecasting systems could be advanced.