Chancellor Philip Hammond say he wants to tackle the “structural issues” around pension saving in the UK and discourage people from the idea their wealth should be tied up in property.
The Telegraph reports that in an appearance before the Treasury committee last week, Hammond suggested he would review the state of household savings and how these could be tapped to help the wider economy.
He said: “We do have some structural issues around saving in the UK, some of them specific to the UK- the structure of pension saving, the extraordinary role that housing wealth plays in the overall calculation of UK households.
“We do need to look at the interaction between the desire to save in the most effective way – and historically for many people that has been through housing – and the needs of the economy around accessing pools of savings. That is a productivity challenge for us.”
Pointing to the high level of saving among Japanese households, Hammond said: “If we could persuade Mr and Mrs Smith to save like Mr and Mrs Watanabe to finance our debt then we might be looking at a different scenario, but we are not.”
In September Bank of England chief economist Andy Haldane caused controversy when he suggested property was a better vehicle than pensions for planning retirement.