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Annuity bill finally runs out as time after three victories

The Private Member&#39s Bill looking to reform the annuity regime has had its last airing, as the House of Commons ran out of time before the bill had its second reading last week.

The Annuity Reform Bill, which was sponsored by Conservative MP David Curry, has been a thorn in the side of the Government since it was published last December.

It is now set to die when the House of Commons rises for the summer.

While it was unlikely ever to become law, the Government has been defeated three times in votes on the bill by the Opposition using guerrilla tactics.

Last week, the bill was second on the agenda to be voted upon but Labour MPs spent the entire day debating the Home Energy Conservation Bill, leaving no time for discussion on the annuity bill.

It has one more chance to reach second reading on June 19 but there are several other pieces of business ahead of it so it is extremely unlikely that it will be debated.

The bill calls for chan-ges to let pensioners buy an annuity that is big enough to keep them clear of social assistance by the age of 65 and then be allowed the freedom to use the rest of their pension fund as they choose.

Annuity Bureau director Ronnie Lymburn says: “It was surprising that it got this far but it was inevitable for it to die. Its only success was that it managed to keep the annuity issue on the table.”

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