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Blair and Hague must come clean on compulsion

Whatever you do, do not mention the &#39C&#39 word. At least not within earshot of the voters. Such foul language should be restricted to smoke-filled rooms where insurance chiefs, civil servants and cabinet ministers meet.

The unwritten rule is no one, apart from the Liberal Democrats, addresses the issue of legally requiring people to save for retirement. This election may not turn on financial services but it will feature more about them than any for generations. The Conservatives believe they can make an issue of low savings levels resulting from the axing of advance corporation tax credits, labelling the move a stealth tax. Labour believes financial reform can deliver what it needs on welfare reform and social exclusion.

All three main manifestos refer to annuities, funded pensions and long-term care. And yet, for the two biggest parties, what is arguably the most important issue remains unspoken. As a result, a vital piece of information is missing if the electorate is to have all the information at their disposal to chose who to vote for.

If employers, the self-employed or emp-loyees are to be forced to devote a percen-tage of the payroll or their pay packet to a pension, they should be told. The LibDems have been brave enough to do so.

But to help Tony Blair and William Hague get the message, we will use politician-speak and say the unsayable word three times – compulsion, compulsion, comp-ulsion. Not so difficult, is it? Now they should do the decent thing and tell the British people whether or not they plan to impose it on them if they get elected.


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