Labour leader Ed Miliband has warned “rip-off merchants” are primed to take advantage of savers accessing the new pension freedoms.
The Treasury has published its consultation today on how the new cash for annuities market, to be introduced in April 2016, will work in practice.
Speaking after Osborne’s Budget speech, Miliband said while Labour supports the new freedoms, it remains cautious on protecting consumers.
He said: “It’s very important to look at the detail of these changes. We do want people to have more flexibility, including on annuities.
“The Chancellor talked about advice in the annuity market – it is incredibly important that advice happens quickly. We have rip-off merchants ready to pounce, and we know it has happened before.
“The Chancellor needs to get proper regulation in place in on these issues, but we will look at the change he has talked about.”
Miliband also criticised Government measures to clamp down on tax evasion and aggressive tax avoidance, noting the Chancellor had not planned any measure to tackle the use of tax havens.
He said: “The gap between what is owed and what is collected is up and not down.
“And what about hedge funds? Strangely absent from the Chancellor’s statement. Where was the action on stamp duty avoidance? It’s costing well over a £1bn a year.
“Of course they can’t act on hedge funds because they bank roll the Tory party. He can’t act because they own them lock, stock and barrel. And the Conservative Party is now just the political wing of the tax avoidance industry.”
He also disputed many of Osborne’s boasts as to the strength of the UK recovery, and slammed the Chancellor for failing to mention either the NHS or investment in public services.
Miliband added: “It’s a budget people won’t believe from a Government they don’t trust.
“This Government has failed the working families of Britain. For the first time since the 1920s, people will be earning less at the end of the Government than they were at the beginning.”