The Pensions Regulator (TPR) is to write to all small and micro businesses in the coming months as part of a new campaign to give them key information on auto enrolment, including when the duties affect their businesses.
In addition the auto enrolment qualifying earnings bands and earning thresholds have been announced for 2015/16. These thresholds are relevant to employers complying with their automatic enrolment obligations to enrol and then make pension contributions for eligible employees. Employers must meet their obligations from their staging date which can be found by using TPR Website tool.
The revisions in the limits take effect from 6 April 2015 and follow the recommendations from consultation with interested parties.
TPR proposes to revise the limits to the following amounts:
- £5,824 for the lower limit of the qualifying earnings band
- £42,385 for the upper limit of the qualifying earnings band
These limits are used by employers to calculate how much pension contributions are due where band earnings are the basis of calculation.
The amount someone must earn to be automatically enrolled into a workplace pension (the earnings trigger) will remain at £10,000 per annum instead of being aligned with the personal allowance as it has been for previous years following concerns that low paid workers will miss out on pension contributions.
If you would like help with auto enrolment please do get in touch.
Internet links: Gov Press release
HM Treasury is encouraging groups, individuals and representative bodies to submit their ideas for consideration in advance of Budget 2015.
HM Treasury has also published guidance on the correct procedure for making a representation, which advises that ‘representations should contain policy suggestions for the upcoming fiscal event and explain the policy rationale, costs, benefits and deliverability of proposals’.
‘It should also be evidence based, providing clear arguments on how it contributes to the aims of the Budget.’
Written representations for the 2015 Budget can be submitted until Friday 13 February, via an online survey or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Chancellor George Osborne will present Budget 2015 on Wednesday 18 March.
Internet link: News
The National Savings & Investments website and helpline are experiencing a high volume of enquiries following the launch of their 65+ Guaranteed Growth Bonds which are being referred to as ‘pensioner bonds’.
The bonds are available for a period of one or three years. The taxable bonds offer savers interest of 2.8% over one year and a fixed annual interest rate of 4% over three years with a minimum investment of £500. Investors are restricted to a maximum investment of £10,000 in each of the two products offered.
The new bonds cannot be held within a New Individual Savings Account (NISA) and only pay interest at the end of the savings term. Where investors cash in their investment early, a penalty equivalent to 90 days’ interest will be applied.
Internet link: NS&I bonds
The government has announced the launch of ‘Pension wise’ which will offer free and impartial guidance to people on the new pension freedoms which comes into effect in April.
Economic Secretary to the Treasury Andrea Leadsom has unveiled the name and logo of the new pensions guidance service.
Pension wise will offer free and impartial information and guidance to people with a defined contribution pension approaching retirement and will be available from April 2015 for individuals approaching retirement.
Economic Secretary to the Treasury Andrea Leadsom said:
‘People who have worked hard and saved all their lives will be free to choose what they do with their money from next April.
We want people to be empowered to make informed and confident choices and I’m delighted to announce Pension wise: Your money. Your choice as the brand name for the impartial guidance service we are building.
Pension wise will be a first port of call for people with a defined contribution pension who are approaching retirement. It is a distinctive brand, making it easy for consumers to know where to go for help and guidance.’
Internet link: News