UK - The Liberal Democrats have called for cross-party consensus and the introduction of an Independent Pensions Authority to make pensions more "politician proof".
Announcing its pension reform plans for the UK, the party called for an end to means testing, incentives to encourage people to take out second pensions, an independent pensions body and said it was determined to ensure second pensions were in private hands, rather than owned by the state. The party added it was determined to resist calls for compulsion.
“The Liberal Democrats believe that a new and durable pensions settlement should create a firm foundation based on the universality of the Citizen’s Pension that lifts pensioners out of poverty,” said party leader Charles Kennedy.
“But it should also encourage personal responsibility so that people actively plan and save for their retirement. Our vision is that as many people as possible should have their own additional pensions, on top of the Citizen’s Pension, and not at the whim of the government of the day.”
Lib Dem shadow work and pensions secretary David Laws added: “The government has said that it wants a national consensus on pensions, and | believe that is what is emerging. The consensus is that the government’s pension system is an unsustainable mess. The question now it whether the government will be part of the consensus for change or whether they are irreconcilably split.”
Stuart Barker, senior consultant at Punter Southall & Co, welcomed the call for cross-party consensus and an end to means-testing.
But he added: “It is perhaps disappointing that any change to the State Pension Age is ruled out until 2030 at the earliest - as a society, the sooner we face up to the financial consequences of increasing long life the better those consequences can be managed so that everyone can enjoy that longer life.”
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