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Port Talbot and tax relief: the week in news

Port Talbot and tax relief: the week in news

So it turns out it wasn't coming home at all. And as punishment we have to suffer several days of news coverage about whether or not a balloon is offensive.

If all this is just too much for you and you're struggling to come to terms with England's exit from the World Cup (or if you're Scottish and you want to celebrate), then could we suggest the week in news.

1) Sun, sand and suitability

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It being summer, what better place to go than..Port Talbot...

But before you sneer, advisers from across the UK gathered in this Welsh town - home to one of the biggest steelworks in the world - this week to go on a pension transfer binge.

Over the course of the two-day event, we learnt that the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) flagged 26 financial advice firms involved in the British Steel pension transfer debacle as having a "high risk model".

A compliance expert also told the event most defined benefit (DB) transfer files had black holes in them and we learnt the FCA applies a ‘Lamborghini test’ when reviewing advisers’ suitability reports, to check whether the file "tells what the client really wants to achieve and how they want to live their life".

2) Encore!

Just when we thought the campaign against an increase in the state pension age, which affects women born in the 1950s, couldn't become more bizarre, we learn the campaigners have obviously been drawn to the smell of the greasepaint and the roar of the crowd.

The protest will be reaching the theatre stage in October with the performance of Lizzie’s Charter, a play based Aristophanes's ancient comedy Lysistrata, as part of the campaign.

The play was developed by two women affected by the pension change, which saw the women’s state pension age increase to 65 – the same as men's – but the campaigners say this was done faster than promised, with little or no notice to make alternative plans.

3) Taxing news

If the government gives with one hand and takes with the other, the price for more money for the NHS may turn out to be paid through your pension savings.

This week it emerged HM Treasury was considering the introduction of a flat rate for pension tax relief to free up funds to support the NHS.

This is reportedly one of a number of options under review by the Treasury, since Prime Minister Theresa May gave Chancellor Philip Hammond free rein to find ways to cough up an extra £20.5bn in funding for the health service.

The Treasury has neither confirmed nor denied the plans but has said taxpayers will have to contribute a bit more "in a fair and balanced way" to support the NHS.

4) Swap shop

The High Court has approved Royal London’s plan to offer clients a bonus to trade in their guaranteed annuity rates (Gar).

The pension provider had a court hearing on 25 June to consider the option, which will allow about 30,000 customers, those with Scottish Life pension products, to swap their Gars for a lump sum greater than they would ordinarily have got.