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Actuaries slam parties’ lack of commitment to pension provision

The Association of Consulting Actuaries has hit out at the major political parties’ policies on pensions and care of the elderly, claiming they are “threadbare at best and damaging at worst”.

Chairman Keith Barton says that the most depressing aspect of all the manifestos is a lack of commitment to the reinvigoration of private pension arrangements.

He says: “This is just the time when imaginative proposals in the manifestos could set the scene for the period ahead.

“Instead, the statements in support of private pensions are bland and largely unspecific, allowing wriggle room for these to be low priority in the next Parliament.”

Barton criticises the major political parties for not effectively addressing the costs of caring for the elderly and calls for an independent commission to deal with pension and care issues.

He says: “There is no near-term imaginative strategy to address elderly care costs as part of an overall retirement income policy after years of dancing around this fast-growing demographically driven crisis.

“A joined-up approach to mapping out the future of state and public sector pensions arrangements, private retirement income and elderly care needs to fall under the remit of an independent retirement income commission.

“This should be established in the new Parliament to avoid a piecemeal approach.”

Barton has also slammed the Liberal Democrats’ policy to scrap tax relief on pensions for higher-rate taxpayers.

He says: “We see the Liberal Democrats pledging in their manifesto to grab another £5bn a year by way of the abolition of higher-rate tax relief on pension contributions – a policy that might easily be attractive to a LibDem-Labour pact.

“Aside from the fact such a policy would have an impact on millions of middle-earners, again damaging their pensions, it could also lead to immediate tax charges for many of those in defined-benefit schemes.”

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