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&#39Make Blair stick to pension limit&#39

Life companies are calling on the Inland Revenue to provide a guarantee that senior Government figures will not be able to take pensions that exceed private sector limits.

Scottish Equitable and Norwich Union have called for all public sector pensions to be covered by the new proposed Revenue fund limit of £1.4m.

Last month, Treasury Financial Secretary Ruth Kelly told Parliament that all schemes benefiting from tax privileges would come under the rules.

But the Revenue consultation leaves open whether unfunded unapproved retirement benefit schemes, such as those enjoyed by Prime Minister Tony Blair and Lord Chancellor Derry Irvine, should fall within the new regime.

They get a pension of around half their final salary from the date that they leave senior office.

This means that Blair&#39s total pension benefits would cost around £3.2m to buy on the open market.

Scottish Equitable pensions development director Stewart Ritchie says: “It would be very unfortunate if the country&#39s top people got better treatment than the rest of us mortals who have to suffer the ups and downs of the pension rules.”

A Treasury spokesman says: “There is no yes or no answer whether pensions not subject to the tax rules will fall within the new regime. This consultation is still going on.”

Millfield pensions specialist Graham Duckett says: “If they want to make the review fair, they should bring Blair&#39s pension under the same rules as the rest of us punters.”


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