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英国拟废止“配偶养老金”制度

 字体时间:2015-01-17来源: 中国社保网编辑:网站管理员
【导读】:在本周三的女王演讲中,英国政府将公布一系列法案修正提案,其中包括停止发放“已婚人士养老金”。英国目前的养老金制度规定,在职已婚人士退休后领取养老金的同时,其配偶也可根据其之前缴纳的社会保险金额申领一定数额的“已婚人士津贴”。这一规定导致

在本周三的女王演讲中,英国政府将公布一系列法案修正提案,其中包括停止发放“已婚人士养老金”。英国目前的养老金制度规定,在职已婚人士退休后领取养老金的同时,其配偶也可根据其之前缴纳的社会保险金额申领一定数额的“已婚人士津贴”。这一规定导致很多英国公民的外籍配偶在未缴纳任何社会保险和所得税的情况下,每年还能领到约3500英镑(约合人民币33615元)的政府津贴。英国养老金及社保大臣韦伯日前表示,不居住在英国但是一直在领取“配偶养老金”的人数高达22万,他们每年申领的配偶养老金约为3500英镑,相当于英国纳税人每年的纳税额中有4.1亿英镑被用于供养外籍配偶,而这些人中有一部分甚至“从未踏上过英国的国土”。将于2016年实行的新养老金法案将废除这一做法,并规定凡是在英国工作、照顾老人或小孩至少35年的人将获得至少每年7000英镑的政府养老金。养老金申领将根据个人的工作贡献和税金缴纳而定,未缴纳社会保险和所得税的在职人士配偶将无法申领养老金。

英国拟废止“配偶养老金”制度

Taxpayers are funding state pensions for hundreds of thousands of people who live abroad and have never paid tax in this country, a minister has disclosed.

Taxpayers are funding state pensions for hundreds of thousands of people who live abroad and have never paid tax in this country, a minister has disclosed.

Steve Webb, the pensions minister, said that those receiving British pensions overseas include many foreign citizens who have “never set foot in Britain at all”.

The pensions can be worth 3,500 a year for the entire length of a person’s retirement, and are costing taxpayers 410million a year — a rise of more than a third over the past decade.

Mr Webb revealed the figures ahead of this week’s Queen’s Speech, which will include a proposed law that will stop new claims for such pensions.

The situation arises because of rules that allow spouses to claim a “married person’s allowance” based on their husband or wife’s history of National Insurance contributions. The working spouse can receive their state entitlement too.

While claims for a “married person’s pension” are falling in the UK, the number of such pensions paid to people abroad has risen steadily.

There are 220,000 people living outside the UK who receive some sort of state pension based solely on their spouse’s British work history. That is unacceptable, the minister said.

He said: “Most people would think, you pay National Insurance, you get a pension. But folk who have never been here but happen to be married to someone who has are getting pensions.”

Mr Webb also warned that many middle-class workers are not saving enough for retirement and face a steep drop in their living standards after they stop work. In response, he said, employees should sign up to “automatic escalation” deals where they commit money from future pay rises to their pensions.

Mr Webb spoke to The Daily Telegraph as the Coalition prepares to publish the Pensions Bill in the Queen’s Speech.

Wednesday’s speech will be the Coalition’s first set-piece opportunity to respond to the political concerns raised by the rise of the UK Independence Party in last week’s local elections. Insiders say the speech will contain a modest package of measures.

The Pensions Bill will create a new flat-rate state pension of about 7,000 a year for everyone in Britain who spends at least 35 years working or caring for children or the elderly. The new pension system, in place from 2016, will do away with several aspects of the current regime, including rules allowing people to claim a pension based on their spouse’s history.

The new flat-rate pension “is for inpiduals, it’s not based on your spouse, it’s just for you”, Mr Webb said. Existing pensions will be unaffected, but the change will prevent new claims for pensions that cannot be justified, he said.

“Women married to British men, we are getting more of them claiming a pension based on his record. In some cases, they have never set foot in Britain at all.

“There are women who have never been to Britain claiming on their husband’s record. There are also men who have never been to Britain claiming on their wife’s record.”

He added: “Say you are an American man and you marry a British woman, you can claim, if she has a full record of contributions, a pension of 3,500 a year for your entire retirement having never paid a penny in National Insurance.

“Most people would think that is not what National Insurance is for.”

The new single-tier state pension introduced this week will be the centrepiece of the Coalition’s pension reform, accompanied by the new auto-enrolment scheme that automatically saves a sum from low-paid workers’ wages into a retirement fund.

Mr Webb said that those two reforms will ensure that people on low and average wages will be able to maintain their standard of living in retirement. But high earners will need to save more or work for longer to avoid a sharp fall in their incomes after they stop work.

“If you are on a modest wage, a 7,000 state pension and an auto-enrolment pension gets you not far short of your current income. It’s not a cliff edge. But if you are on above average earnings and you want to maintain your living standards, you need to do more.”

He added: “In terms of saving more, most people probably know that they are not putting much by.”

Mr Webb said that ministers will encourage more employers to offer their staff “automatic escalation” deals that earmark future pay rises for pension contributions. “No one wants to put in extra cash now, but people are willing to say, next time I have a pay rise, I commit now that part of it will go into the pension,” he said. Evidence from the US and other countries suggests that such schemes “work pretty well,” he said.

The new flat-rate pension will mean that many higher earners will receive a lower state pension than they would have done under the current rules.

Mr Webb admitted that the new scheme would be less beneficial to higher earners. However, he insisted that such people would still have better retirement incomes than the lower-paid because of their occupational pensions.

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