Guest Comment: Pensions today - how we ended up here

The journey to today’s pensions system can be traced back to the first Roman Emperor, who introduced a permanent revenue source for veterans of the imperial army.

The foundations for the current pensions system we operate were laid in the 1940s. Since then pensions policy has been affected by a significant amount of legislative changes made by successive governments over nearly eight decades. This has led to a system that is a complicated mix of old and new policies.

As a result, many of today’s pensioners and future pensioners will be in receipt of income from schemes that have either been discontinued or replaced by new schemes. According to recent statistics, approximately 360,000 people have been provided with inaccurate pension forecasts.

This level of complexity suggests even the government are unable to predict pensions accurately.

Since 2003 the PPI have been summarising these changes in our annual Pensions Primer: A guide to the UK Pensions system. The Pensions Primer provides a detailed history and explanation of how the UK pension system currently works.

Looking to the future, there are a number of challenges that exist in relation to the future of pensions, including; the future of the triple lock, impact of pensions freedom, the speed of SPA rises, how pensions should be taxed and the impact of the dashboard on the pensions landscape. If will be interesting to see which of these find their way into future editions of the Primer.

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