Edmund Greaves

Nine pension rules: true or false?

Being able to access your pension savings early can be a lifeline if you’re forced to retire early due to ill health. But more than half of Britons (57%) don’t know this is possible, a survey reveals. 

An even higher number (63%) don’t realise that self-employed workers get tax relief for pension savings, the research from the Money and Pensions Service (MaPS) found. 

State pension to rise by 3.9% in April giving retirees an extra £343 a year

The amount by which the new state pension rises is determined by the so-called state pension triple lock.

This guarantees that the state pension will rise in line with inflation, wage growth or 2.5%, whichever is highest for the September figures.

Inflation for September 2019 was today confirmed at 1.7% on the CPI measure. This means the state pension will rise in April 2020 by 3.9%, the wage growth figure for the three months to July 2019.

UK inflation falls to 1.7%

Prices for everyday goods and services in the UK increased at a rate of 1.7% in August this year. The rate for CPI and CPIH is currently the same, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Pay growth hits 4% for first time since 2008

Pay growth has peaked again, reaching the highest level recorded since June 2008.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) reports that pay grew by 4% on average in the three months to July 2019. This is a jump from 3.7% recorded in the previous set of data from the ONS.

This figure includes bonuses however. Excluding bonuses, pay grew by 3.8%, a drop from last month’s data where pay excluding bonuses grew by 3.9%.

In real terms, after adjusting for inflation, this means that workers are receiving pay rises of 2.1% including bonuses and 19.9% excluding them.

Annuity rates slump by 14% in 2019

Annuity rates have fallen to some of their lowest ever levels, and currently have only been lower than now for a period of nine weeks.

An average 65-year-old can now buy an annual income of £4,654 using a £100,000 pension. This is £759 less than at the beginning of the year, according to Hargreaves Lansdown.

Proposed income tax reform ‘a sting in the tail’ for pension savers

In his pitch for the leadership of the Conservative Party, Boris Johnson called for the higher rate threshold for income tax to be raised from its current level of £50,000 to £80,000.

This would be good for workers (excluding those in Scotland where tax rates are devolved) earning between £50,000 to £80,000, as they would no longer have to pay the higher rate of 40% on earnings above £50,000.

But the reforms would contain a sting in the tail for workers pensions.

Investors unable to trade as London Stock Exchange hit by technical glitch

The London Stock Exchange failed to open at its usual time of 8am owing to a technical issue.

Buyers and sellers of UK company shares on indices such as the FTSE 100 and FTSE 250 were unable to trade British-listed companies as a result.

The LSE says that it is investigating a potential trading services issue”, but has not been more specific than this. 

Inflation on the rise ahead of the Brexit deadline

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) measure of inflation rose to 2.1% in July, up from 2% according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The ONS’s alternative measure, CPIH, which includes housing costs, stood at exactly 2% for July.

The stats body says that the biggest contributor to the CPIH measure of inflation in the past nine months has been housing and household services, rising by 1.9% on average. Chiefly to blame are gas and electric bills and council tax rate increases adding to household bills. See the graph below.