PensionBee’s response to the Liberal Democrat Manifesto

Ffion White

by , PR Manager

10 June 2024 /  

10
June 2024

A hand placing a vote in front of the UK flag

In response to the Liberal Democrats’ pledge to;

Give unpaid carers the support they deserve by increasing Carer’s Allowance and expanding it to more carers, and stop pursuing carers for old overpayments of Carer’s Allowance.

Becky O’Connor, Director of Public Affairs at PensionBee, commented: “We are a nation of carers. Millions of workers—both male and female, young and old—are filling the gaps created by a lack of social care support, often at great personal cost. The likelihood of this affecting anyone in their working lives is high, with PensionBee research finding that two-in-three people are likely to take time out to provide unpaid care at some point during their careers.

The consequences go beyond pensions and security in later life, impacting people’s careers, personal lives, and the UK economy. This is not a niche problem, nor is it necessarily gendered, though currently, women are more likely to face the biggest gap: the childcare gap. Besides the pension gap caused by childcare, there is a compelling need to address the impact of multiple care moments faced by individuals in their late fifties and early sixties.

We are pleased to see this issue on the agenda as we estimate every year spent out of work to perform unpaid care reduces a pension pot by roughly £5,000 at retirement, while every year spent working part-time (three days a week) reduces it by roughly £2,000. It’s imperative to find a solution that prevents people from missing out on key working years and facing a pension shortfall in retirement.”

Maintain the State Pension Triple Lock

Becky O’Connor, Director of Public Affairs at PensionBee, commented: “The State Pension is a vital safety net for most retired households and must be preserved at a meaningful level. This is relevant not only for today’s pensioners but also for future generations.

To preserve the State Pension, some form of index-linking is necessary as without decent and reliable rises to the State Pension, it will be today’s young workers who suffer most when they reach their sixties and seventies, as personal and workplace pension savings are not currently at a level where they could even come close to replacing State Pension benefits.”

Review rules concerning pensions so that those in the gig economy don’t lose out and portability between roles is protected

Becky O’Connor, Director of Public Affairs at PensionBee, commented: “Gig economy workers can often miss out on the benefits of Auto-Enrolment as they tend to have less traditional working patterns or employment contracts. This leaves these workers at risk of poverty in retirement. Removing the earning thresholds required to qualify for Auto-Enrolment could help ensure these workers can build up their private pension savings earlier, reducing their reliance on the State Pension in later life.”

Ensure that women born in the 1950s are treated fairly and properly compensated

Becky O’Connor, Director of Public Affairs at PensionBee commented: “It’s reassuring to acknowledge the necessity of compensation for the WASPI cohort. The Department of Work and Pensions must be held accountable for any shortcomings in fulfilling its obligation to guarantee transparent communication regarding pension changes, as these can significantly impact an individual’s retirement outcomes.”

Introduce a general duty of care for the environment and human rights in business operations and supply chains.

Clare Reilly, Chief Engagement Officer at PensionBee, commented: “Pension savers believe that a greater commitment for environmental and human rights considerations is crucial towards building a more sustainable and just economy.

“In a recent PensionBee survey, we heard that 70% of respondents – equivalent to approximately 22.3 million pension savers – expressed their support for a shareholder resolution to establish a compensation policy ensuring Walmart employees earn a living wage while almost 60% of respondents – equal to nearly 18.5 million pensions savers – would vote in favour of wanting Shell to commit to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.

“However, it is essential that it remain practical for businesses of all sizes. Clear guidelines and support structures would need to be made available to ensure that companies can effectively integrate new responsibilities without undue burden. Collaboration between the government and businesses would be key to the successful adoption and impact of this duty.”

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