Living pensions

An assessment of whether workers’ pension saving meets a ‘living pension’ benchmark


Auto-enrolment has been successful in increasing pension saving participation among workers, especially those on lower incomes. However, given the improvements in take-up, the next pressing concern is whether workers are saving enough to deliver an adequate standard of living in retirement. A ‘Living pension’, parallel to the ‘Living wage’ could help us find the answer. … Continued

Wealth on the eve of a crisis

Exploring the UK’s pre-pandemic wealth distribution


Today’s release of data from the Wealth and Assets Survey (WAS) gives us a key insight into the financial position of families on the eve of the pandemic. It shows a picture of steady increases in aggregate wealth with households’ net worth standing at £15.2 trillion before the onset of Covid-19. Much is written about … Continued

After shocks

Financial resilience before and during the Covid-19 crisis


This report provides some of the first evidence on how the impact of the Covid-19 crisis on households has differed across countries. It studies the living standards-related factors that contribute to financial resilience (or the lack of it) both before and during Covid-19 in the UK, France and Germany. Overall, we find that pre-crisis vulnerabilities … Continued

Building a living pension

Closing the pension savings gap for low to-middle income families


The Living Wage has been successful in providing a focus on the living standards of low-paid workers and increasing pay for many lower-paid employees. However, there has been much less of a focus on the future living standards of the same group. A ‘Living Pension’ could help us understand the savings required today to provide … Continued

The Missing Billions


In this spotlight we discuss new research on the size and distribution of UK household wealth. Such wealth matters for living standards, economic opportunity and the ability of families to weather the coronavirus crisis. But it also matters because there is increasing interest in reforming wealth taxes in the UK, not least in the context … Continued

Enrol up!

The case for strengthening auto-enrolment enforcement


This briefing note is part of a three-year programme of research exploring labour market enforcement generously funded by Unbound Philanthropy. It considers the extent of non-compliance with auto-enrolment, and whether there are ‘under-enrolment’ hotspots that require closer scrutiny. We estimate that around 3 per cent of eligible employees are not enrolled in a pension scheme … Continued

Rainy days

An audit of household wealth and the initial effects of the coronavirus crisis on saving and spending in Great Britain


Families in Great Britain are faced with the most severe economic contraction in more than 100 years. Much of the immediate focus among policy makers has been on the size and distribution of falls in families’ incomes but household wealth, both savings and debt, will play a hugely important role in shaping how far families’ … Continued

Pensions & savings
Inequality & poverty
Wealth & assets
Political parties and elections

Who owns all the pie?

The size and distribution of Britain’s £14.6 trillion of wealth


While incomes have stagnated over the past decade, our national wealth has continued to boom. Data released today put UK households collective wealth at £14.6 trillion. But that total is far from equally distributed: the richest 10 per cent of households own almost half of the nation’s wealth having benefitted most from the recent wealth … Continued

A welfare generation: lifetime welfare transfers between generations


This paper updates John Hills’ seminal research on life-cycle welfare transfers between generations. It estimates the extent to which past and future cohorts contribute to the welfare state via taxation and withdraw from its core pillars – education, health and social security – over the course of their lifetimes.

The generation of wealth: asset accumulation across and within cohorts


Family wealth in 21st Century Britain is huge and growing, rising from £9.9 trillion before the financial crisis to over £11 trillion in the most recent data – more than six times our national income. Significant increases have come from house price rises in the 1990s and 2000s, followed by major growth in private pension wealth more … Continued

The pay deficit: measuring the effect of pension deficit payments on workers’ wages


Across the UK economy, the share of overall employee compensation accounted for by non-wage elements such as employer pension contributions has increased substantially since 2000. This increase was driven in no small part by increased payments by employers to plug defined benefit deficits and coincided with a marked pre-crisis slowdown in pay growth, causing speculation … Continued

Save it for another day: pension tax relief and options for reform


The Treasury has reportedly backed away from pension tax reforms, at least temporarily. Given the scale of existing tax relief, its particular benefits for higher income savers, and the potential wider impact of any change, this is perhaps understandable. But there remains a strong case for making the current system cheaper, fairer and better targeted. … Continued

Submission: Personal Accounts White Paper response


This briefing presents the Foundation’s response to the Government’s Personal Accounts White Paper. It explains that we welcome the chance to respond to the Government’s proposals for a new system of Personal Accounts. Personal accounts are a crucial tool in ensuring people on lower incomes save enough for retirement and we support the overall direction … Continued

Lessons from New Zealand’s Retirement Commission for UK Policy on Financial Awareness and Advice

This report was commissioned by the Resolution Foundation to inform our work on low earners’ financial advice services. The report investigates how the Retirement Commission in New Zealand encourages greater financial awareness and provides financial advice and comments on the especially relevant lessons for UK policy, taking into account differences between the UK and New … Continued

Submission: Work and Pensions’ Select Committee evidence


This briefing sets out the Foundation’s evidence to the Work and Pensions Select Committee’s inquiry into pension reform. The Foundation has not commented on the merits of the Pensions Commission’s proposals. However, we believe that the reform process offers an opportunity to address the potential advice needs of people on medium to low incomes, particularly … Continued

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