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How Labour plans to wage the pensions policy battle

Angela Rayner

Labour’s fourth shadow pensions minister in under a year says she will introduce a “campaigning element” to the role, holding the Government to account over the retirement freedoms, automatic enrolment and the new state pension.

The party has been criticised for stepping back from key financial services debates, including the Financial Advice Market Review and the pension reforms, but Angela Rayner says leader Jeremy Corbyn has tasked her with designing the party’s pensions policy and strategy.

The MP for Ashton-under-Lyne, a former carer and union representative, says she will use her campaigning experience to tackle three key areas.

Speaking to Money Marketing, she says: “I plan to be around for a while, I’m not learning all this stuff to just leave. There are a lot of complex issues. I want to bring a campaigning element to the brief. This is a technical area and I understand that’s important but the big issues for me are in areas like auto-enrolment where a lot of people will miss out, how are we protecting them?

“And the pension freedoms mean there are a lot of people that are not taking guidance because they fall under the threshold.

“There’s a lot of people who fall under that barrier that can just take their money and they are vulnerable to the market, there’s no one looking after their interests.”

In October the FCA said it was introducing a £10,000 threshold over which pension providers have to give customers risk warnings when they access pots.

Rayner has also taken aim at the Department for Work and Pension’s approach to the Women Against State Pension Inequality campaign.

The Government has ruled out granting transitional measures to women who claim they were given inadequate notice when their state pension ages were raised twice, in 1995 and 2011.

Last week Rayner called on the Government to “show us the money” on transitional measures it says it has considered for women affected by the rise in state pension age.

Rayner also criticises the Conversatives for “bitty” pensions policy that hinders people planning for their retirement.

She says: “Jeremy is keen for me to start those conversations with the market and savers to make sure we create the right offer for people. I don’t think the Government has a strategic vision for pension reform, it feels bitty. It’s tinkering instead of developing a joined-up strategy that means people know what retirement will be.”

She is concerned about people running down their pension savings too quickly but will not go as far to say the Government should introduce extra controls.

She adds: “Ultimately financial services are there to serve and enable people. We are not slaves to finance, the system is there to enable us to better people’s lives. There’s no harm in making profit but there has to be a balance.”



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There are 8 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. Trevor Harrington 9th February 2016 at 1:45 pm

    I guess that we should not look too far back in history …. but …

    she says …. “She is concerned about people running down their pension savings too quickly ….”.

    Perhaps she would care to give us her thoughts on Gordon Brown’s raid on the previously sacrosanct pension system, when he taxed all our private pensions in 1997 – two months after being elected on a “NO TAX INCREASES” manifesto – and who then proceeded to spend the Country into the biggest national debt since the end of the second world war.

    As a direct result of Brown’s actions as Chancellor for over ten years, my wife has lost 7 years of state pension, I have lost 2 years of state pension, and both of our state pensions have been reduced from over £250 per week to £151 per week … for the rest of our lives.

    Quite Frankly, anybody even vaguely contemplating voting Labour ever again, should be obliged to consider the above, rationalise it in their minds, and then if they still want to use their ballot paper in that way, they should be sectioned.

  2. A another well qualified person for the role.

  3. We all agree that the treatment, especially by the Tories, of women born between 1950 and 1955 regarding state pension entitlement has been a abominable.
    Even if Labour could put up a fight against the Tories, why would they appoint this person who it appears has no formal qualifications in Pensions or Finance, as Shadow Pensions Minister?
    I suppose empty vessels make the most noise!

  4. @ Lawrie Hainey. I’d agree the 2011 acceleration to State Pension age, which hit women especially hard, should not have been enacted and should be reversed.
    As for your statement, however, that “we all agree” on the abominable treatement of women born between 1950 and 1955 with regard to State Pension entitlement, especially by the Tories, please speak for yourself and people you’ve actually spoken to. The entirely reasonable equalisation of State Pension age was announced in 1995, with 15 years to run before it even started, and 10 years for it take full effect. Since then, Tories have been in power for 7 years and Labour for 17 years, during which they could have tabled any amount of amendments or made the changes more public if they felt it had been poorly communicated (which it may well have been).
    Some balance, please.

  5. Sorry – maths all awry – Tories in power 7 years, Labour 13. Comments still stand.

  6. Trevor Harrington 9th February 2016 at 5:34 pm

    Lawrie – but you have to ask why the Tories have done what they have done with Women’s pensions ( and Men’s pensions for that matter), and the only logical conclusion is that they have done so because :-

    ONE – the Country is still operating a huge budget deficit, and
    TWO – we now have the largest national debt since the second world war

    BOTH of these problems are the direct result of the Labour Government of 1997 through 2010, and particularly precipitated by Gordon Brown.

    I suggest you read the facts – see my post above – and then never vote Labour ever again.

  7. Sounds good, but not sure there is anything here but froth.

  8. So here we have yet another politician put into a job that they know literally NOTHING about. I’ve always believed that certain roles in government, such as Chancellor or Pensions minister should have a mandatory requirement for experience and or qualifications in a relevant area.

    However to expect anything so radical from politicians who know nothing other than how to act in their own best interests is probably clutching at straws…

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