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Compulsion could be back on agenda

The appointment of David Blunkett as Work and Pensions Secretary has increased the likelihood of compulsion, according to leading figures in the industry.

Hargreaves Lansdown head of pensions research Tom McPhail says if Blunkett’s track record is anything to go by, he will not be afraid of adopting a sweeping move such as compulsion if it is recommended by the Turner report.

Scottish Widows head of pension market development Iain Naismith says Blunkett’s appointment increases the likelihood of compulsion, probably starting with employer compulsion.

McPhail and Naismith both express regret that Alan Johnson has been moved on only nine months into the role, saying it is hard for coherent policies to develop when the Secretary for State changes so often.

McPhail also says Labour’s reduced majority improves the chances of cross-party agreement as the government will be forced to listen to opposition views and new policies will be scrutinised. McPhail says: “Blunkett’s track record on issues such as ID cards means that the chances of compulsion are increased as he is not afraid to introduce policies which force people into adopting extreme measures.”

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