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Howard claims Labour is hiding pension plans

Pressure is mounting on the Government to reveal future pension plans before the election as opposition parties claim that important new policies are being hidden from the electorate.

The DWP has said it will not pre-empt the final Turner report, which is due in October, but in a newspaper interview Leader of the Commons Peter Hain, MP, says major pension legislation will be introduced early in the next term if Labour is re-elected.

Conservative leader Michael Howard has seized on the comments to suggest that the Government has “a secret agenda” to raise taxes to pay for pension reforms after the general election.

Liberal Democrat spokesman for work and pensions Steve Webb says the public are being betrayed by the Government’s failure to make them aware of its pension intentions before the general election.

Adair Turner’s interim report, published last October, said there were four options for the future: raising taxes, the public saving more, people working longer or pensioner poverty.

Howard says: “In a typically underhand Labour way, they are trying to keep quiet about it before an election. It is only because of Mr Hain’s indiscretion that we know about it all.”

Webb says: “Labour is betraying pensioners again by delaying these announcements until after the election. It is clear that we urgently need a Pensions Bill. With all the resources that the Government has, ministers should be honest about their plans.”

Labour MP Frank Field says: “The Government has been caught in a trap of its own making. Next October may be good for a political consensus but a voter consensus is far more important.”

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