UK - The Pensions Commission is unlikely to publish its report until after the next general election for fear it will be lost in party politics.
Commission chairman Adair Turner said the final report should be published mid-2005 – after the new Pensions Bill is introduced.
But if a general election is called in 2005, the report will be put back until after it is over.
He said it would be “very difficult” for politicians to step back and think about long-term policies without any political baggage.
Turner stressed that the commission – which is looking at contentious issues such as compulsion – will take as long as it needs to get the report “absolutely right”.
Turner – who is vice-president of Merrill Lynch Investment Managers – said: “If you produce a report with headlines a month before or during an election, it is very difficult for people in politics to respond in a non-partisan fashion.
“Our attitude is that this is an opportunity to get it absolutely right. There is no value in us producing a report after nine months which says we’ve had a quick look and think X.”
But Mercer Human Resource Consulting worldwide partner Peter Thompson warned that time was of the essence.
“There are major issues. Will they wait another three years? One doesn’t know at this stage who is going to be in power, and whether they might have completely different views about these things.”
But PricewaterhouseCoopers partner John Shuttleworth believes the commission is unlikely to come up with anything “except more paperwork”.
Buck Consultants head of technical services Kevin Le Grand disagreed.
He said: “The last thing we want to see is something of this importance lost through a change of government or, if Labour is re-elected, a change in approach.”
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