25 May 2006
Pensions white paper unlikely to provide a long-term settlement for pensions
John Barrett, Liberal Democrat MP for Edinburgh West, today warned that the Government’s pensions White Paper was unlikely to solve the long-term problems in the pensions system.
John Hutton, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Minister this afternoon unveiled the Government proposals for pensions reform.
Speaking from Westminster, John Barrett said:
“There had been a time when our pension system was admired the world over. But a quarter of a century ago Margaret Thatcher broke the link that increased the pension in line with earnings growth and it has steadily withered away in value ever since.
“A growing number of pensioners have found themselves in severe poverty with no escape – in the late 1990s the ‘safety net’ of means-tested benefits left millions robbed of dignity and struggling through a retirement of limited opportunities.
“The complexity of the system and its reliance on mass means-testing leaves us with a crisis for the future where millions of people realise that their private and occupational pension savings are clawed back by the state and will rightly wonder if it was the best use of their hard-earned money.
“The White Paper may temporarily solve some of the battles between No.10 and No.11, but I doubt very much that it will provide the long-term settlement for pensions that we so desperately need.”