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Campaign wants annuity reform in party policies

Dr Oonagh McDonald is spearheading a campaign to include the annuity reforms proposed in her Choices report in the election manifestoes of the major political parties.

The push by the former regulator and Labour MP is backed by the AITC and Autif. The aim is to lobby the parties to ensure annuity reform is an issue in the widely expected spring general election.

McDonald says the issue is critical to the Government&#39s key objective of privatising pension provision through stakeholder, as Middle England is becoming increasingly concerned about compulsory purchase.

If the campaign succeeds, Labour, the Tories and the LibDems will include proposals in their manifestoes allowing retirees to buy an index-linked minimum retirement income with their pension funds to secure a minimum income level, leaving them free to invest the rest of their funds elsewhere.

The Retirement Income Reform campaign will dovetail with the Private Member&#39s Bill tabled by Conservative MP John Butterfill, which says compulsory purchase puts pensions at a disadvantage with other investments which generate a retirement income.

McDonald says annuity reform will prompt a surge in the need for independent advice.

She says: “Post-retirement advice is not something you can do through a decision tree. Reform will open up a huge market for advisers.”

Annuity Bureau director Ronnie Lymburn says: “Labour might want to start pleasing voters who do not benefit from compulsory purchase. The top-earning 20 or 30 per cent of voters are wealthy, powerful and growing in number.”

Analysis, p14;

Perspective, p28

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