Election 2010: Pension plans come under fire Go compare with our comparison table

Election 2010: Pension plans come under fire

23 April 2010 / by Lois Avery

Pension plans from the three main political parties have been described as ‘threadbare’ ‘piecemeal’ and ‘damaging’ by the Association of Consulting Actuaries (ACA).

Following their review of the election manifestos from Labour, Conservatives and Liberal Democrats, the ACA has produced a damning report about their future plans for pensions.

Whilst the report acknowledges that the parties' pledges to improve the basic state pension are similar, the ACA said they would be ‘taking a risk’ with voters’ money.

The three parties’ main policies toward pensions all outline plans to review the default retirement age, increase the basic state pension and to introduce auto-enrollment onto pension plans for lower earners.

The Conservatives plan to review the NEST (National Employment Savings Trust and end effective compulsory annuitisation at age 75.

Labour have outlined plans to re-link the basic state pension to earnings and reform the state pension to include women who have stayed at home to bring up children and carers.

The Lib Dem’s intend to introduce a citizen's pension based on citizenship rather than based on National Insurance Contributions.  And lift the requirement to annuitise at age 75 if people have an income above a certain threshold

 ACA Chairman, Keith Barton said: “"The most depressing aspect of the parties' manifestos is their weak commitments in respect of reinvigorating private pension arrangements.  Yes, there are some supportive words on occupational provision from Labour and the Conservatives. 

“And there is an aspiration to start to restore the effects of the abolition of the dividend tax credit ‘when resources allow' from the Conservatives, calls for greater annuity flexibility from the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats and an ‘early-access' commitment from the Liberal Democrats.

"This is just the time when imaginative proposals in the manifestos could set the scene for the period ahead.  Instead, the statements in support of private pensions are bland and largely unspecific, allowing ‘wriggle room' for these to be low priority in the next Parliament. 

“Even NEST, the Government's flagship scheme for extending basic level pensions to many more people, supported in the main by the opposition parties, warrants not one direct mention in any of the three main party manifestos.”

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