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Field calls for equal rights

The Government must reform the priority for final-salary scheme wind-ups to give retired and non-retired workers the same rights before some schemes inevitably hit meltdown, says former pension minister Frank Field MP.

Field told the Cityforum conference that, over the next five years, it will become commonplace for scheme wind-ups to leave existing members with huge shortfalls.

He is presenting a private member&#39s bill to the House of Commons this week, proposing reform of priorities on winding-up to give equal rights to retired and non-retired members, based on the number of years service. His bill also calls for the urgent establishment of an insurance scheme for defined-benefit pensions.

Field said pensions will become an increasingly important political issue as the proportion of voters approaching retirement increases. He said over-45s represented only 45 per cent of voters in the 1997 election compared with 60 per cent in 2001.

Field said: “Many workers have already seen their pension promise devalued beyond recognition. Over the next five years, what has become a nightmare for a minority will become a living reality for many.”

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