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New state pension reforms need better explanation, says Work and Pensions Committee

April 8 2013

Changes to the state pension system are unclear to the public and need further explanation, according to a group of cross-party MPs.

The Work and Pensions Committee have backed the new single tier state pension but thinks the government need to tell people how it will affect them.

Under the plans, announced in January this year, a basic pension of £107 a week will be set at a flat rate of £144 a week.

While many people will gain as a result of the changes, some who currently pay in to a second state pension – which is being abolished – will lose out.

Dame Anne Begg MP, chair of the committee, says the government needs to be more proactive in providing information.

“In the short to medium term it will mean more state pension for many people, particularly the self-employed, and women and carers who have been low-earners or had gaps in employment,” she said.

“But although the end result will be simplification, the transition period will be long and complex.”

The new system was due to start in April 2017, but in last month’s Budget Chancellor George Osborne brought the date forward to April 2016.

The committee of MPs believe this particular change makes it even more important for people to receive understandable and accurate information as soon as possible.

“It is vital that the government decides on its high-level strategy for communicating the changes to the public by the time the finalised bill comes before Parliament in the summer,” Dame Anne added.