UK - The government has been urged to end its pensions consultation and take some difficult decisions on the future of the UK's pension provision.
Liberal Democrat pension spokesman Steve Webb told delegates at the City Forum’s ‘Pensions in Crisis’ debate at the National Liberal Club, Whitehall: “There are some major problems with the Green Paper. First, it was the wrong colour – it is too urgent for green.
“We had consultation with Sandler, Pickering, the Inland Revenue and now the government wants more. The consultation has to stop and someone needs to make some difficult decisions.”
He also felt the need to query the very basis of the Green Paper exercise.
“The paper made an assumption that the state system is sorted.
“I have met no-one outside the government that says the state system is sorted. So the foundation of the Green Paper is wrong.”
Institute for Fiscal Studies programme director of work on pensions, savings and public finances Carl Emmerson added that the Green Paper was relying almost exclusively on high coverage of private provision to close the £27bn savings gap.
But he fears the government has made the wrong judgement over why some 5m-10m people are not saving.
The Green Paper assumes that the reason people are not saving is because the right information is not there.
He added that the only way low earners would be able to secure a decent pension in retirement was by working longer.
*Delegates expressed their disappointment that the government failed to send any representative to the conference.
Chairwoman Oonagh McDonald said: “It is somewhat surprising to find that, in a forum like this with so many pensions experts present to make a contribution to the Green Paper, the government is not here.”
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