Ed Balls has backed the idea of holding a fresh pensions commission after the minister for pensions and financial inclusion, Guy Opperman, indicated support for such a review.
Speaking to Professional Pensions at Pensions and Benefits UK on 26 June, the former shadow chancellor of the Exchequer said it was important for pensions policy to achieve cross-party consensus on long-term ambitions.
"The vital thing is to take employers and savers on this journey to the next stage, and to try and build cross-party consensus at a time when that's much harder than it's ever been," Balls said.
He added: "Whether you think of auto-enrolment (AE), what's happened to the basic pension, or what's happened to earnings and related savings as well, maybe the right thing to do is to try and build a new consensus about new challenges in 2019."
Also speaking at PBUK yesterday, Opperman said he could "see the force" of having a "fresh pensions commission" to consider the future of AE, tax relief, and allowances - a suggestion Balls said "makes complete sense".
"I think, if that had been done three years ago, that would have felt too early, but now's the right time to do that thinking so that we can not only preserve AE but can build upon it and fill some of these gaps," he continued.
"If we're not going to lose the opportunity, now's the right time to have another hard look at the next steps in a way which has some independence and involves all the experts in the industry as well."
The last time a pensions commission was convened by the government was in 2002, which then published a series of reports between 2004 and 2006. Chaired by Adair Turner, the commission made a number of recommendations, including the introduction of AE, reforms to the state pension system, and changes to tax relief.
Since then, there have been repeated calls from many in the industry for a new permanent commission to have a more joined-up and long-term approach to policymaking.
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