Tories highlight pensions "incompetence"

22 September 2004
The Conservatives have attacked the government's "incompetence on pensions" as thousands are left waiting for a decision.

It follows reports yesterday that the Department for Work and Pensions will be launching a questionnaire in an attempt to discover how many people have lost pension benefits due to their employers going bankrupt.

The Tory pensions spokesman David Willetts said that the government announced its assistance scheme four months ago and therefore asked: "Why is it only now trying to calculate how much money people have lost?"

He attacked the government, saying: "This delay is another example of Government incompetence on pensions. It also prolongs the anxiety of thousands of people who are waiting to find out how much they will have to live on in retirement."

Then pensions secretary Andrew Smith unveiled the £400 million Financial Assistance Scheme on May 14th. The government estimated that 65,000 people had lost 20 per cent or more of their pension savings. Dividing £400 million between 65,000 people gives an average payment per person of £6,154.

Mr Willetts added: "The government decided how much money it would make available without having the faintest idea of how far this would go towards making up for the losses people have suffered. This £400 million will not be enough."
© DeHavilland Information Services plc