Pension scams: not quite there yet

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From medieval conmen persuading people to hand over hard cash for worthless ‘holy relics’, to Charles Ponzi promising amazing returns on the back of earlier victims’ money,  fraudsters have always been with us and probably always will be. While this is all too true, we can make life a lot tougher for fraudsters – but we need to move rather faster than we have done to date. Continue reading “Pension scams: not quite there yet”

The Energy Revolution

The smart meter roll-out has been bumpy, and bedevilled by technical issues around its communications systems. To date, about 6m have been installed towards the goal of achieving 50m+ installations by 2020, and the Government remains adamant that that date is not negotiable.

We are de-commissioning old coal-fired and nuclear-fuelled generating plants, and replacing some of that capacity with enormous wind farms. Solar power is becoming more commonplace (nearly 1m householders now have a solar panel on their roof), and we are experimenting with tidal power and other technologies. But all our existing cables and wires are in the wrong place to transmit this electricity to our homes. Continue reading “The Energy Revolution”

Review of State Pension Age Report

After over a year of looking at a wide range of evidence, and meeting many individuals and organisations, John Cridland’s Independent Review of the State Pension age has published its final report. John Cridland was tasked by the Government to make recommendations around a ‘fair and sustainable’ State Pension age (SPA) from 2028 onwards.

Continue reading “Review of State Pension Age Report”

Wary hearts: Romance fraud is (much) bigger than you think

Paul Cunningham (Flickr Creative Commons)
Paul Cunningham (Flickr Creative Commons)

This blog post was contributed by Phil Mawhinney, Policy Officer, at Age UK 

You probably know someone who found love through a dating website – perhaps you did yourself. But you may also have seen cases of people who thought they had met someone special online, only to lose thousands of pounds through fraud. You might think that this is a rare crime and, really, people should know better.

It might surprise you to learn that romance/dating fraud is a big and growing crime. One person who has fallen victim reports dating fraud every three hours, according to the latest figures from Action Fraud, the fraud reporting centre. Continue reading “Wary hearts: Romance fraud is (much) bigger than you think”

How best to support older people with Energy issues?

“[Energy Adviser] who came to assess our needs was very thorough and offered advice and suggestions. The work was promptly completed and has been a boom in the cold weather. It involved draught proofing our doors which had warped over the years. What a difference to the warmth of our home this winter”
“[Energy Adviser] who came to assess our needs was very thorough and offered advice and suggestions. The work was promptly completed and has been a boom in the cold weather. It involved draught proofing our doors which had warped over the years. What a difference to the warmth of our home this winter”
We know cold weather increases the demand on the health service, and with cold homes in particular, it is believed to be one reason behind increases in respiratory and circulatory diseases in winter. Older people are more likely to suffer from cold weather and in addition to affecting their health we know it can have an impact on their quality of life. The personal and family costs from becoming seriously ill or from a premature death because of the cold can be devastating. But it does not need to be this way. Continue reading “How best to support older people with Energy issues?”

Guest blog: The debate about age and insurance is changing

This guest post was contributed by Duncan Minty, an ethics consultant specialising in the insurance market. 

Insurers have always wanted to know lots of things about the people applying for a policy, so any trend that simplifies that is bound to be good, isn’t it? My first inclination would be to answer yes, but at the same time, I would then wonder what has changed.

Has insurance become simpler? That would be great, but seems a bit unlikely. Or are insurers obtaining the information they need from other sources? That seems more likely. After all, the much talked about digital era has resulted in huge amounts of data being created about how we shop, where we travel, what we ‘like’, etc. Continue reading “Guest blog: The debate about age and insurance is changing”

WASPI women march on Parliament

Hundreds of women are planning to travel to Westminster today to complain to the government and their MPs about unfair changes to their state pensions. Major changes made through successive Pensions Acts in past years mean that women born in the 1950s have seen several changes to the date at which they will receive their pensions. These changes mean that the date a woman can start to claim her pension may be quite different from that of a woman who is just a little bit older or younger. These women could legitimately think government policy on pensions is unfair and the way the changes have been communicated to them has been a shambles. Continue reading “WASPI women march on Parliament”