Retirement annuities are still in existence though none have been started since June 1988. They were taken out by self-employed people or employed people who were not in an employer's pension scheme.
A Personal Pension taken out before July 1988. Contribution limits for RAs are less than for post-July 1988 Personal Pension Plans but the earnings cap does not apply. The Tax Free Cash Sum from an RA is calculated differently to a PPP although if the Open Market Option is taken the formula for calculating the Tax Free Cash Sum comes under the Personal Pension Plan rules.
An annuity paid to you from funds you have paid into a retirement annuity contract during your working life. Although there are minimum ages (based on your occupation) below which you cannot draw a retirement annuity, you need not stop work before you draw the annuity.