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FAS fight as Altmann faces up to Hutton

A war of words has erupted between campaigner Dr Ros Altmann and Work and Pensions Secretary John Hutton over the Government’s rejection of the Parliamentary Omb udsman’s report into pensions.

Altmann has branded the Financial Assistance Scheme as “political spin” while Hutton has defended the FAS in an open letter to a national newspaper, saying it offers a major contribution to people hardest hit by pension losses.

Altmann rejects Hutton’s claims that the the FAS will pay 80 per cent of accrued rights at the point of leaving the scheme for some pensioners. She says it represents 50 to 60 per cent of many people’s expected pension.

Pensions Action Group campaigner Altmann is co-hosting a briefing session for MPs this week with Labour MPs Julie Morgan and Alun Michael and LibDem MP Jenny Willott. It will outline social and constitutional issues over the rejection of the watchdog’s findings on Government maladministration. Altmann says: “Will Hutton just get away with this or is there some pressure we can bring to bear out the truth? The FAS is political spin. It is almost a cruel hoax to fool MPs into believing something great is being done when, in practice, people are not getting the money that the Government promised them was safe.”

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