Without consultation, the entire structure of the British pension settlement was torn up by the Chancellor. We saw the death of the pensions settlement. It was not perfect but it should have been built on and not blown up. Labour should oppose this disaster in every way. It is what I have advised them to do and will continue to do so.
They should not accept it, they should oppose it in the House and commit to changing it when they come in.
It is the death of private pensions, it is the death of occupational pensions in the medium term and the death of pensions in their totality. There is no justification for the preferential tax treatment of savings into pensions that can be accessed with the ease with which the Government is suggesting.
All pension reform should be done through consultation and be bipartisan. This was a tacky, showy, politically partisan little trick in the Budget and if it is ever implemented it will unravel. As far as I understand, the Labour position it is pretty straightforward: they thought there were problems with annuities but did not think the whole system had to be blown up, just reformed.
What has been killing returns on annuities is quantitative easing so the villain is the Bank of England. QE was required because the Government drove the country into a deeper and longer recession than was required so in the end it comes back to George Osborne.
John McTernan is the former political secretary to Tony Blair