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New state pension plans unveiled

New state pension plans unveiled

Category: Pensions

Updated: 05/04/2011
First Published: 05/04/2011

This article was correct at the time of publication. It is now over 6 months old so the content may be out of date.

New plans to pay a flat rate state pension of around £140 a week have been published by the Government.

The new plans would replace the current means-tested system for all new pensioners, although existing pensioners would remain on the old scheme.

Presently, the state pension pays £97.65 a week, but can be topped up to just more than £132 with pension credits.

However, the Government has criticised the way the state pension is currently paid.

"Over the years small changes to the state pension system have turned what started as a relatively simple contributory system into a complex mess, leaving people utterly confused as to what the state pension means for them," said Iain Duncan Smith, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions.

The Government says that just under half of pensioners are eligible for means-tested pension credit to top up their state pension but around 1.6 million pensioners don't claim, leaving them with a basic income below £132.60.

It has also said that self-employed people, women and low earners tend to be eligible for a smaller state pension.

Under the plans, the system would be replaced by a flat rate pension of around £140, although this could rise as inflation increases.

the pension age for men and women will rise to 66 in 2020.

Steve Webb, the Pensions Minister who unveiled the plan's commented: "I'm proud to bring forward proposals that will end the unfairness inherent in the system and secure a fair, decent and simple state pension fit for the 21st century."

"These reforms will transform pension saving in this country for millions of people."

In its paper, the Government also announced an option of linking the state pension to National Insurance contributions.

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