UK - Four organisations that have banded together to form a new People's Pensions Coalitiion have today called for the establishment of a new independent body to safeguard the future of pensions and ensure policy continuity.
The Trades Union Congress, Help the Aged, Age Concern and Which? have formed an alliance, claiming Britain is “stoking up a pensions crisis”, with governments of all parties and employers retreating from providing a decent income in retirement.
“We believe that a new body independent from government, and able to think and plan long-term should be established to safeguard the new pensions consensus that we pledge to help create,” the TUC said. “It should provide early warnings of new challenges, suggest changes to government, safeguard the future of pensions and ensure policy continuity.”
In addition, the new coalition called for a new pensions settlement based on popular support from “tomorrow’s pensioners”.
TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said: “This is an unprecedented alliance for a radical new pensions settlement. Many in the pensions debate are vested interests - their lobbying is entirely legitimate, but this powerful coalition speaks for millions. Ministers and the Turner Commission should take careful note.”
Graham Vidler, head of policy research at Which?, said compulsion was the fairest way of delivering a decent income in retirement.
Announcing its inception, the new group said the current voluntary pensions system was failing. It said employers and employees should contribute to a pension that would provide an additional pension on top of that provided by the state.
But not all the members agree on all policy details. While the TUC and Age Concern are adament the state pension age should stay as it is, others are open to change as part of a new system.
The four organisations oppose retirement ages set by the state or employers and say the UK must move towards a pensions sytem that is much fairer for women.
“Much of the current pensions system is based on outdated assumptions that people will live in stable family units all their lives and that women can depend on the pensions built up by their husbands,” the TUC said. “We wish to move towards a pensions system that is much fairer for women and is based on the idea of everyone building up their own independent pensions entitlement.”
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