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Govt accepts six-month challenge on pensions

The Government&#39s new pension chief Andrew Smith has accepted a challenge from the Liberal Democrats that it has a “narrow window” of six months to sort out the pension crisis.

Speaking in an Opposition day debate in the House of Commons this week, LibDem MP and chairman of the work and pensions select committee Archy Kirkwood said the Government has an opportunity to solve the pension dilemma but does not have much time.

Work and Pensions Secretary Andrew Smith agreed with Kirkwood&#39s assertion, saying he hopes to get cross-party consensus on pensions.

Smith also said he hopes financial and pension planning will become an everyday activity.

Conservative Shadow pensions secretary David Willetts accused the Government of “shocking complacency” over pensions.

But the LibDems rejected the Tories&#39 comments as “shedding crocodile tears” and claimed the party had nothing new to say.

Kirkwood said: “Will the Government take the lead and act now, accepting the fact we only have a narrow window of opportunity of six months to reform funded pensions?”

Smith said: “I would like to see a situation where financial planning and talking about pensions is more of an everyday thing.

“We are looking to ensure people have the information they need. I believe we need all-party cooperation on the future of pensions.”

The Government also welcomed the move by the Accounting Standards Board to delay the implementation of FRS17.

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