Morning papers: Reforms to expose pensions ‘hidden fees’

Pension companies will have to disclose details of hidden fees which can reduce the value of your retirement income by a third, the Daily Mail reports.

Under new rules, all costs and charges associated with a pension will have to be made public following a probe by the Office of Fair Trading, which identified 18 separate transaction costs that fund managers are concealing from customers.

Ministers are expected to announce today that fund managers of defined contribution workplace pensions must reveal ‘full details’ of all their costs in future, the Daily Mail reveals.

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West rushes to fix Ukraine rescue

Western leaders are rushing to put together a rescue deal for Ukraine as the country teeters on the brink of bankruptcy following the fall of former president Viktor Yanukovich and amid speculation on whether Russia will pull a $15bn bailout facility, the Financial Times reports.

Russia bought $3bn worth of Ukranian sovereign bonds at the end of December, but the next step of its bailout, the purchase of a further $2bn of eurobonds, was cancelled last week. Russia could also revoke a 30 per cent cut in gas prices for the country.

Intense discussions between the European Union and the US have suggested that no bailout - which “will have to be measured in billions rather than hundreds of millions” according to EU economic commissioner Olli Rehn - will be agreed without a new willing to commit to reform.

US Treasury secretary Jack Tew is reported to have told a senior Ukrainian politician that the US would augment any IMF bailout to “cushion the impact of reforms on low-income Ukranians”.

Goodbye NI?

National Insurance, a 100-year old charge on employers and employees, will be renamed “earnings tax”, the Chancellor has signalled.

The Telegraph reports Ben Gummer MP, a rising star Tory backbencher who has been campaigning on tax transparency, will propose the change in a Commons Bill on Tuesday.

RSA eyes rights issue to shore up balance sheet

Stephen Hester is looking to raise hundreds of millions of pounds more from RSA’s shareholders than some investors previously expected as the new chief executive seeks to draw a line under the insurer’s difficulties.

The Financial Times reports the ex-Royal Bank of Scotland chief is poised to tap investors for cash – possibly as much as £800m – in a move the board hopes would put beyond doubt its ability to move on from accounting irregularities in Ireland.

Scandal of Europe’s 11m empty homes

More than 11m homes lie empty across Europe – enough to house all of the continent’s homeless twice over – according to figures collated by the Guardian from across the EU.

In Spain more than 3.4m homes lie vacant, in excess of 2m homes are empty in each of France and Italy, 1.8m in Germany and more than 700,000 in the UK.