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Beware the pre-election spin

You can tell a general election is in the air as the Government cranks up its spin machine a few notches.

Earlier this week, journalists were sent a helpful email note from a Government special adviser highlighting the Conservative Party’s “shocking attack” on pension provision.

It included a pretty dramatic quote from Work and Pensions Secretary Yvette Cooper referring to the implementation of auto-enrolment and Nest and explaining that “now we know the Tories want to kick people in the teeth and take that pension promise away”.

The SpAd also allows Pensions minister Angela Eagle the chance to put her boot in describing the “breathtaking irresponsibility” of a Conservative Party that is being “disingenuous and hypocritical by talking in favour of the consensus but voting against giving millions of people access to a workplace pension”.

The thrust of the email suggests the Conservative Party will tear apart the upcoming pension reforms as the “Tories vote against pensions for millions”.

Of course, the truth is slightly less dramatic.

The Conservatives did indeed vote against the reforms this week as the regulations for auto-enrolment were passed through Parliament. But it was a protest vote registered with no hope or intention of blocking the reforms.

They are still hopping mad about the delays to the scheme announced by the Government last year and the way they believe the Nest administration contract has been rushed through before the general election.

The Tories say they were led to believe any contract would not be signed until June, although the contract has been split into two parts with the first part ending in October, allowing for a reassessment of the rest of the contract.

The Conservatives’ recent list of economic commitments included introducing auto-enrolment and Shadow pension minister Nigel Waterson’s main complaint about the introduction of the reforms is that they are becoming “a marathon not a sprint”.

Hardly the kick in the teeth to savers described by Cooper. The Government should be careful throwing around such statements considering the way it has treated pension savers since 1997.  

This is not to say the Conservatives will be behaving any better as the general election gets nearer. The spin employed to attack Labour proposals to reform social care for the elderly was misleading and over-simplified an important topic that none of the parties seem to be able to get to grips with.

As the general election approaches you can be sure the spinners will get busier and important issues will continue to be distorted.  


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There are 7 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. I’m so dizzy my head is spinning…

  2. Nothing like our current government for distorting the truth.

    Lets face facts we all know the joke about how you know when a politians is lying…………..his/her lips are moving.

    However this current government have really brought a new low to it all. They really do find it hard to deal with telling the truth on any level be it statistics on crime or the nations finances. Goodness knows what will happen if they get another term.

  3. michael brayne 5th March 2010 at 1:15 pm

    I thought the low cost stakeholder was pensions for all. Whilst on the subject does anyone know what happened to CAT Standard? The direct sale knocker boys knew how to sell pensions.

  4. What a great article! Finally, a journalist quite rightly bringing a modest degree of perspective and clarity in this pre-election era.

    Splitting the scheme administration contract into two separate parts still gives the Conservatives the power to review/veto NEST’s administration contract in October this year, should they get into government, but equally signing the contract ahead of the election allows this government to get on with delivering NEST as part of the pension reform package.

  5. They have had all of us spinning around in ever decreasing circles, where will it end? Poof!!…….It’s awfully dark in here…

  6. Derek Angrison 8th March 2010 at 1:43 am

    In my life we have had the overpowering unions of the 70’s. Rightly fought with the capitalist 80’s. Then came the difficult 90’s. No one wanted the lookout for number 1 Tory mantra but at the same time not wanting the unionised politics of old labour. So we had new labour and for the first 10 years it worked, no matter your views politically you cannot argue with the 10 years of growth. OK there has been a lot of thing that have went wrong in the last 4 years but it is not time to jump back to the rich looking after the rich. As advisers, our bulk of client are the working class, trying to protect the money they have earned.

    The status quo does not work but please lets not go back to the sleaze of the Tory party. I don’t think I will ever be in a position to vote for labour after what has happened but I implore my fellow professionals do not assume that the Tory’s will sort out the regulator, I can only see it getting worse, the will only give tax cuts to the super rich so no more tax planning opportunities to our client base, and I truth be told if you look deep into the economics policy of the party being more Milton Friedman than Keynesian in time of recession can only lead to a deeper hole.

    I urge you, if you don’t think either are suitable then please vote for a different option, liberal, green, SNP, Plaidcymru…etc Don’t be lazy and think the Tory party and all the sleaze will have stopped, Duck islands and moat cleaning and super rich lords prove that they are not to be trusted. How could I look my clients in the eyes and vote for someone who is happy the super rich are ******* us over. If we had a non of the above candidate like brusters millions I would vote for that.

  7. So the Conservatives are complaining about delays while at the same time complaining that contracts are being signed too quickly?!

    If the contract is ready to sign now, what would they have said if the Government had waited 3 months before signing.

    It’s the best of both worlds. The Govenment can go full steam ahead with delivering NEST while still allowing the Conservatives to review the scheme with a break in the contract in October. This potentially saves the taxpayer a fortune if the Conservatives win the election and decide to dump the scheme. They won’t have their hands tied by a decision this Government has made. Seems pretty sensible to me.

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