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Blair fails to address policy

Prime Minister Tony Blair disappointed pension experts by shying away from a significant announcement on third-term pension policy this week.

Blair&#39s Opportunity Society speech in London on Monday – the day before Adair Turner&#39s pension report – had been billed as a significant pointer to Labour pension policy going into the next general election.

But Blair&#39s failure to deliver any new policy details has been interpreted as evidence of the paralysis in Whitehall caused by his dispute with Chancellor Gordon Brown.

Industry figures believe the Government has reached crisis point over policy, with those calling for reform blocked by a Brown crackdown on spending. The Chancellor has ruled out any rise in taxes to pay for future state pension provision.

Reports in weekend papers suggest Blair wants to scrap Brown&#39s pension credit policy and raise the basic state allowance from £77 a week to £100.

Blair&#39s favourite thinktank, the Institute of Public Policy Research, issued a statement at the weekend backing calls to get rid of pension credit.

Blair said: “The big challenges facing the country – pension reform, childcare, public health, increasing employment, to name just four – will not be met by minimalist politics but by bold and far-reaching reform.”


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