Queen’s Speech tackles pensions and technology

Among the announcements made yesterday in the Queen’s Speech was the introduction of a new consumer rights bill and pension reform.

The Queen’s Speech took a rather modern twist yesterday with a plan to tighten up consumer protection with faulty apps and music downloads as well as the introduction of a flat-rate pension.

This latest update of the law looks to give greater protection to consumers who download films, music and games. Customers will be able to expect a refund or replacement if an online game freezes or if a film stream is unwatchable.

There will also be new protection for consumers making it easier to apply for compensation for breaches of competition law and new powers for trading standards officers to seek court orders forcing compensation to be paid.

A new overhaul of pensions is also in the pipeline. From April 2016, a flat-rate state pension worth about £155 a week will be introduced. No longer will workers have to navigate a complex means-tested system and will end the concept of a second state pension – which allows people to opt out of some National Insurance contributions and pay more money into a private scheme.

The pensions bill is designed to introduce reforms which will “make it clearer to people what they will get from the state when they retire, reduce means-testing and provide a firmer foundation for saving”.  A hopefully positive introduction to cushion the blow for many of us having to work up to the age of 70 or even beyond.

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