In Focus: Retirement Income  

The devilish details in the Queen's Speech

  • To understand the measures in the Queen's Speech
  • To be able to explain the need to tackle scams
  • To understand the issues of long-term care provision
The devilish details in the Queen's Speech
Source: FT via Fotoware

The Queen's Speech on May 11 had been anticipated as a charter for change, especially in the areas of protecting people's pensions and laying out the government's policies on social and long-term care.

But the 1,062-word speech, the Queen's 66th, traditionally given at the opening of parliament in the spring or after a general election, set out very little that we had not already known. 

Commentators have also expressed frustration that several measures that have been long awaited since she last delivered a speech – back in 2019 – seem to have been conflated with other similar aspects in the legislation.

In fact, some elements – such as addressing long-term care – have been expected since the Dilnot Commission on Funding of Care and Social Support back in 2011.

That said, many of the bills presented in the 2021 Queen's Speech have the "potential to address urgent challenges facing the UK", according to Huw Evans, director-general at the Association of British Insurers. 

He comments: "These include ensuring a building control system that is fit for purpose, taking firm decisions on social care funding and pushing forward progress on climate change.

"As we focus on the recovery from the pandemic, insurers and long-term savings providers have a vital role to play in all of these areas and we will work with the government on behalf of our world-leading sector to deliver the best results for our customers, wider society and the UK economy.”

Rachael Griffin, tax and financial planning expert at Quilter, calls it a "momentous state opening of parliament, not least because the government is still grappling with the ongoing pandemic, but it is the first parliamentary session for the government legally outside the European Union".

So what is making it into UK legislation over the rest of the year, and what does this mean for you and your clients?

Dormant assets

The latest pensions bill finally received royal assent earlier this year to become the Pension Schemes Act 2021. Since then, the government has been incredibly busy developing new pension policy initiatives, and there are already a series of initiatives that will require legislation.

One of the areas highlighted by the speech was legislation to "support the voluntary sector by reducing unnecessary bureaucracy and releasing additional funds for good causes [Dormant Assets Bill, Charities Bill]".

Once the primary legislation is enacted later this year, the pensions and investment management industry will have the choice of participating in the scheme.

On this point, Evans comments: "We also welcome that the insurance and pensions sector will be included in the dormant asset scheme to ensure that an estimated £2.1bn of unclaimed assets can be made available to good causes with the asset owners having the right to reclaim their funds at any point."

Griffin says: “The government’s dormant assets scheme has shown itself to be a useful source of funds for good causes, at a time where many charities and social enterprises face serious challenges.