State pension 'crucial' for savings crisis

13 December 2004
A decent basic state pension could be crucial to solving the perceived pensions and savings crisis, the Liberal Democrats have said.

The comments come following leaked reports on the Employer Task Force on Pensions.

The Government-commissioned task force will reportedly conclude that making employers to contribute to workers' pensions could be the only way out of the current pensions gap.

But Steve Webb, Liberal Democrat Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary, commented: "The solution to the pensions crisis must start with a decent basic state pension, payable free of means-testing, on which hard-working people can build their own savings.

"Pensioners need a £27 a week boost to the state pension, starting with older pensioners, who are usually the poorest.

"Making occupational schemes 'opt out' rather than 'opt in' so that employees have to make a conscious decision not to save in the scheme would go a long way to establishing a culture of saving.

"Establishing a kite mark system for occupational pensions would help restore confidence to a tarnished system. Compulsion must be seen as a last resort if all else fails," he added.

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