UK - Tim Watson, director, client relations at F&C Asset Management, has issued a strong warning to new secretary of state for work and pensions, David Blunkett (pictured), not to pre-empt the Turner report on the UK pensions system.
The government has announced plans for a draft Pensions Bill following the release of Adair Turner’s the report in October.
However Watson said Blunkett this week suggested he would be in a position to indicate government thinking on pensions by the summer, ahead of the publication of the report.
“The crisis in corporate pensions is the result of a number of factors, not least of which have been the actions of this government,” Watson said.
“If more legislation thumps on to pension fund trustees’ desks this will push more and more funds into appointing professional trustees and encourage even more companies to close down their final salary schemes.
“It is too late to put the clock back and restore the £5bn a year taken from pension funds since 1997 but at least there is some common sense in the view that cross-party agreement is necessary if the long term problems are to be sorted out. Sadly, it is unlikely that this government will restrain its desire to meddle and interfere further.”
Speaking at the National Association of Pension Funds conference last week, Blunkett promised a consultative pensions seminar at which some initial ideas could be discussed.
Blunkett has said previously he will be making no “immediate substantial policy announcements” until after consultation with political parties and pensions experts.
“Nothing however is off limits in terms of the radical appraisal of the reform agenda,” he added.
Tony Woodley, general secretary of the Transport and General Workers’ Union, has urged Blunkett and the Labour government to listen to the voters in its third term.
The British Medical Association (BMA) has warned chancellor Philip Hammond to reform the NHS pension scheme rules or doctors will reduce their working hours.
The lifetime allowance should be scrapped and replaced with a lower annual allowance, last week's Pensions Buzz respondents said.
Action for Children Pension Fund has outsourced its pensions administration to Trafalgar House.