News in brief: pensions; Wales; ambition

One in five people dipping into their pensions

News in brief
News in brief

New research from employment benefits consultancy firm Portus reveals that one in five people (21%) plan to release cash over and above their tax-free lump sum from their pension funds while they are still working. This rises to as much as 27% among employees aged between 55 and 64.

Worryingly, the main two reasons for taking out cash are revealed as being to pay off debt or to have a holiday of a lifetime. Around 37% say they will use some or all of the cash to clear debts, and 35% to pay for a luxury break. For those aged 55-64 who are planning to release funds from their pension before they retire, the corresponding figures are 35% and 28%.

The risk for employers is that staff will continue to work simply because they cannot afford to retire as they have spent a large proportion of their retirement savings, Portus warns.

Business and education sectors must work together to drive ambition

At the Confederation of British Industry annual conference in London, Education Secretary Nicky Morgan spoke about the importance of the business and education sectors working together to raise ambition for all.

She said: “It’s important to remember that it’s not just large businesses, but small businesses too that can make a difference. Whether it’s allowing their employees to take time off to serve on the governing bodies, or helping them with careers support, or the teaching of maths and financial skills in the curriculum.

“More than a third of the companies involved in the Business in the Community programme are SMEs.”

The Education Secretary also called on any SMEs who may be interested to get involved with the programme.

Secretary of State for Wales calls SMEs the heroes of the economic revival

Speaking to the Western Mail, Secretary of State for Wales Stephen Crabb has praised small business owners as the heroes of the Welsh economic revival.

Mr Crabb said: “Together, small and medium-sized businesses employ three quarters of people working in the private sector in Wales. For the past five years, this Government has been doing the heavy lifting to create the best conditions for businesses to thrive by reducing the deficit and cutting corporation tax.

“With a strengthening economy, Wales is a great place to build a business. The British Business Bank has guaranteed more than 1,100 loans to support small businesses in Wales and we have increased the Employment Allowance to help small businesses and charities meet the cost of taking on workers. The Enterprise Allowance has seen thousands in Wales move off benefits and into business.”

However, Mr Crabb added that for businesses to become established, they need world-class infrastructure. To this end he is supporting the extensive overhaul of the railway network in Wales, as well as the roll-out of high speed broadband and the Cardiff City Deal.