UK - The National Association of Pension Funds (NAPF) has spoken out on the scandal surrounding chancellor Gordon Brown's controversial 1997 decision to remove tax relief from corporate pension funds.
The removal of Advanced Corporation Tax Relief had long been blamed for many of the problems currently facing pension funds, but public outcry escalated following the release last Friday of Treasury papers showing Brown had actually been warned by advisers of the possible consequences of his action.
However, NAPF director of policy Nigel Peaple said: “The removal of the tax credit in 1997 was very unhelpful. But it was only one of several reasons why workplace pensions have come under pressure in recent years.
“Some of these pressures were beyond anyone’s control, such as increasing longevity and the fall in equity markets. But others were man-made, such as the introduction of new accounting rules (FRS17) and the decision by successive governments to increase pensions regulation.”
He insisted the focus should be taken off decisions made in the past and placed instead on the current and future state of UK pensions.
“The NAPF wants to see good workplace pension provision for all and we have been in discussion for some time with the government and opposition parties to bring that about.
“We are calling on the government – right now – to provide extra help for employers offering good pensions, to reduce the burden of regulation, and to design the new Personal Accounts scheme to complement, not replace, existing good pension provision.”
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