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first_imgThe run-up to UK’s general election on 8 June may very well be dominated by one topic – Brexit – but that has not stopped the country’s pension funds from listing their preferred priorities for the next government.The Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association (PLSA) has called for political parties to include six pension-related topics in their manifestos, including helping defined benefit (DB) schemes to merge, increasing the minimum contribution for auto-enrolment schemes, and simplifying the state pension.Graham Vidler, director of external affairs at the PLSA, said: “The next government needs to consolidate the growth of workplace pensions, increasing the reach of automatic enrolment and setting out a plan to raise contribution rates. It also needs to make it easier for schemes to make DB pensions sustainable.“Above all, it needs to build public confidence in the system, helping the industry fight scams and deliver the retirement choices savers want, while resisting the temptation for further raids on the pensions tax relief piggybank.” The UK’s first-pillar pension system has already hit headlines since prime minister Theresa May called the election two weeks ago.Of particular focus is the so-called ‘triple lock’, which promises an increase every year based on inflation, average earnings growth, or 2.5%, whichever is highest. Recent reports have suggested that this could be changed to reduce the financial burden of the state pension.A government-commissioned report by John Cridland, former director general of the Confederation of British Industry, recommended that the triple lock be scrapped and the state pension age increased to 68. It is due to rise to 67 by 2028 under current legislation.The PLSA said the state pension was “affordable without further increases to the state pension age” but agreed that the triple lock should be replaced with “a simpler, fairer, and more affordable uprating mechanism” linked to average earnings growth.Consultancy firm Mercer also backed calls for parties contesting the general election to be explicit in their plans for the state pension. Tony Wood, UK leader of Mercer’s health and benefits business, said John Cridland’s review “goes to the heart of many of the core issues raised in the current election campaign”.“However there appears to be a distinct lack of commitment to the recommendations,” he added. “People need to plan well in advance, to be able to make the most of living and working longer, and it is imperative that all the recommendations of this review are addressed by those forming our new government and not kicked into the long grass.”The government was due to discuss the state pension next week, but parliament has been dissolved ahead of the 8 June poll and no more policy work will take place until the next government is formed.The PLSA listed five more areas of focus, including DB scheme consolidation. The trade body is a vocal advocate of schemes working closer together to reduce costs and improve governance, and has proposed the creation of “superfunds”.It said: “The government should bring forward legislation to reduce burdens and enable pension schemes to share services or to merge, delivering better returns, saving money, and improving governance. This will mean a greater chance of members receiving their benefits. It will free employers to focus on corporate growth and it will return public confidence to the system.”On auto-enrolment, the PLSA called for overall minimum contributions to be increased to “at least 12% of salary” by 2030, as well as extending the policy so it applies to workers aged between 18 and 21, self-employed people, and people in multiple jobs.The trade body also recommended an authorisation regime for pension funds to reduce the risk of members transferring into fraudulent schemes. It called for improved help for members at retirement, and for the next government to review the pension tax relief system to ensure it is sustainable and incentivises saving.last_img read more

first_img NBA trade rumors: Celtics F Jayson Tatum ‘wouldn’t mind’ being sent to Pelicans in Anthony Davis deal But, Tatum appeared to deny that report Saturday.“You start to understand that this is a business,” Tatum told ESPN. “I play basketball and I’ve just got to control what I can control, and I love being on the Celtics. I want to play there my whole career.” Related News Jayson Tatum doesn’t want to leave the Celtics.The 20-year-old forward has been at the center of trade speculation involving Pelicans star Anthony Davis and one rumor circulated last week said he “wouldn’t mind” being moved. The second-year forward is averaging 16.5 points and 6.3 rebounds in 31.2 minutes per game this season. He’s shooting 45.3 percent from the field and 37.9 percent from 3-point range.Tatum said he didn’t take the rumors personally.“I understood coming into the NBA that it’s a business and they have to make the best decision for them, whatever that may be, Tatum said. “Especially right now in a contract, I can’t control anything.“It didn’t really bother me. I wasn’t really fazed by it. A lot of it was rumors, I don’t know if it was true or not, but my job is just to play basketball.”The Celtics have had an up-and-down season but entered the All-Star break tied for fourth in the Eastern Conference standings with a 37-21 record. They’ve won seven of their last nine games. “It’s just a long season. Every year isn’t perfect,” Tatum said. “You go through ups and downs. We’ve been playing really well lately. We finished out strong going into the break. We won our last two. So, I’m just excited to get back and get ready for the playoffs.”Boston will return to action against the Bucks in Milwaukee on Thursday.last_img read more

first_imgPublic Infrastructure Minister David Patterson last Saturday handed over a number of materials to residents of North Sophia, Greater Georgetown, fulfilling a promise he had made to that community during a community walkabout earlier this year.Items donated by Public Infrastructure Minister David Patterson to the residents of North Sophia, GeorgetownHanded over in a simple ceremony, the equipment will be used by residents in furtherance of community self-help clean-up endeavours over the coming months. Among the materials donated are wheel-barrows, shovels, rakes, cutlasses, pitchforks and buckets.Minister Patterson has deemed the self-help project an excellent initiative being promoted by the Chairman and Project Coordinator of the community. In a social media post, he noted that he has fulfilled a promise made to the community to support them in their ‘self-help community clean-up’ efforts.“We were able to deliver on that promise. Clean efforts started (Sunday) morning,” Minister Patterson stated.After works have been completed, 12 LED lamps will be installed at various points within the community.last_img read more

first_imgThe Guyana Association of Bankers Inc (GABI) has strongly objected to recent claims by the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) that the local banking sector is not satisfying its taxation payment obligations.In press statement published in today’s edition of Guyana Times, the Association made reference to an article carried in a local newspapers on February 4, 2019 in which Commissioner General Godfrey Statia, said local commercial banks owe approximately $4 billion in corporation taxes.But according to the GABI, commercial banks and non-bank financial institutions over the years have made all taxation payments to the Government as required by law.The Association further highlighted that financial statements are prepared, reviewed and finalised in keeping with domestic, regional and international accounting and taxation standards as well as Bank of Guyana regulatory guidelines.The issue stemmed from Citizens Bank receiving Notices of Assessment from the GRA back in December 2018, claiming additional corporation taxes amounting to some $534,416,000.At a press conference on Friday, however, Statia explained that “banks are commercial entities in the business of lending and have bad debts; however, while the financial standards allow banks to make provision for these debts in their accounting, the Corporation Tax Act speaks about bad debt in a different light. We deal with actual bad debt – not because you provide for a bad debt means it will actually be bad… You cannot write off that debt as a provision and expect GRA to accept it.”However, the Bankers Association said that the approach currently employed by the commercial banks has always been accepted by the relevant authority and this has been well-documented and confirmed by the tax collection body.“GABI has been advised that members have met their tax obligations and is confident that its position is robust and indisputable. GABI members are committed to steadfast and strict adherence to the financial guidelines and to the laws of Guyana as they continue to serve the Guyanese people,” the GABI noted.The Association had already approached GRA, through the Bank of Guyana (BoG), to come to an agreement on the matter but the tax boss is adamant that he will not change the assessment. In light of this, GABI said it has engaged experienced, legal and accounting minds to pursue this matter to the fullest extent on its behalf.Statia had explained that the law currently only allows GRA to accept actual bad debt as a write off once the banks can show that sufficient steps were taken to recover the debt.“We are contributory negligent because we allowed it to go on for years so people were of the opinion that they were doing the right thing,” Statia had pointed out.last_img read more

first_imgThe 15th Seven Seas 11-Stage Cycling Programme, sponsored by Massy and organised by National Coach Hassan Mohammed, will pedal off at the National Park from August 4-15.Mohammed, the veteran cycling coach, will again help to exhibit Guyana’s vast talent on two wheels with a number of top cyclists billed for the event. The 2017Flashback! 2017 winners, organisers and family at the 13th Regan Rodrigues Memorial Road Raceedition saw Raul Leal winning the senior 35-lap race while Nigel Duguid emerged winner of the junior 10-lap category.Meanwhile, the 14th annual Regan Rodrigues Memorial 46-Mile Road Race sponsored by Ricks and Sari Industries will ride off on Sunday, August 5, starting from the West Bank at the Harbour Bridge to Bushy Park and back. Rodrigues was a former champion motor racer and cyclist as well as a former President of the Guyana Cycling Federation.Last year’s champ, a top rider in the senior category, Jamaul John will be looking forward to a repeat while junior winner Briton John will also seek to emerge champ as he did last year.last_img read more