Archive for September, 2012

5 numbers that tell the story of why everyone’s getting a pension from Monday

Pensions. I know, dull, dull and more dull right? Correct. Unfortunately, pensions are about to become like unwashed dishes in the sink – visually unavoidable, uncomfortable smelling and constantly in your face as you walk past them, nagging you to deal with them. Monday is the start of the much heralded and overly written about auto-enrolment. Starting a pension will no longer become a case of “yes please” if you want one but rather “no thanks” if you don’t.

I’ve already written about the challenge of selling this to 7m people, but it’s just worth considering why the Government is doing this. To round out the week, here’s a few numbers which hopefully tell the story behind auto-enrolment. Alternatively, you can watch the new promo adverts for auto-enrolment on YouTube:

8.2 million – that’s the number of people who have a workplace pension. That’s less than one in three adults

£20,000 – that’s what people want to live off each year in retirement

£11,000 – that’s what people think they’ll actually have each year in retirement. That’s a £9,000 gap

82.3 years – that’s the average life expectancy of a girl born today in the UK. It’s rising by nearly 3 years every decade

£400,000 – that’s how much money a woman needs to buy £20,000 a year of income in retirement

Just to reiterate that last one – £400,000. Or to put it another way, that’s the cost of this mansion in Northern Ireland.

The Reshuffle: Three initial thoughts

Business, Foreign, Home, Deputy and a host of other key offices of state are still in place following today’s reshuffle, leading some to call it a damp squib. But that doesn’t mean the day isn’t turning out to be highly interesting in other ways. Three initial thoughts on the reshuffle from us as follows (thanks to Matt, Ed and Ed for their views):

1. Britain is back from Summer: The Olympics created an unusually long summer (silly) season and accompanying downtime for politics and business news. Yesterday’s war cry by Cameron, today’s reshuffle and a host of key European dates coming up mean the political and business communities are very much now back. Expect the news agenda to tighten significantly and the tone to darken markedly in the next week or two.

2. The Government has dodged a brick wall on Jeremy Hunt: Whether intentional or not, the shifting of Justine Greening away from Transport and subsequent attack from Boris Johnson that this greenlights Heathrow’s expansion will likely be the lead story on tonight’s evening broadcasts and tomorrow’s papers. Jeremy Hunt’s promotion to Health, despite his public embarrassment over News Corp will enjoy a much more comfortable second or third slot in the billing.

3. Women in the Cabinet is a weak point for Cameron: The Prime Minister has made his commitment to women occupying a third of his cabinet clear. Today’s reshuffle casts doubt on his ability to fulfill it. We don’t know the scope of junior roles yet, but the decision to give Maria Miller both the Culture and Equality/Women briefs looks strange, especially given her lack of profile prior to today. DCMS is an important department, particularly at present so why burden its Minister with a second job instead of promoting another female star to the second role? Labour will be itching to pounce.