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&#39Annuity change would not be just for the rich&#39

Liberal Democrats reject claims by the Government that annuity reform would only benefit the wealthy.

The party argues that rel-axing the rule of compulsory purchase at 75 is essential to give individuals more freedom.

Pension spokesman Steve Webb and Shadow Chancellor Matthew Taylor believe that pensions minister Ian McCartney&#39s statement made at the TUC annual conference this month does not reflect the reality of the impact of compulsory purchase and demonstrates that the Gov-ernment is blinkered in its views.

Speaking at the party conference in Bournemouth, both Webb and Taylor said they were surprised at McCart-ney&#39s forthrightness concerning the annuity debate, as it is the Treasury which takes final responsibility in any rule changes

The LibDems, like the Conservatives, advocate ref-orming the annuity rules, a move that the Government has so far resisted.

Taylor said: “It is simply not true that this is only about very wealthy people. Many people are not very wealthy and are still being hit by this. The wall is starting to be built up much more firmly than before. There is a real sense that the Government is not interested in reform.

“My sense is that the decision has virtually been taken that they are not going to do it and his comments appear to have confirmed that.”

Webb said: “It seems to me that this is a backward looking approach. We stand by our view that provided the taxpayer&#39s interest is protected, people should have more flexibility with what they do at 75.”

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