The focus on fairness for pensioners garnered the majority of headlines, with the Tories contrasting this year’s 4.2 per cent increase in pension guarantee credit with the recent huge hikes in food and fuel bills.
But Conservative guns should also be pointed at future pension problems currently being created. The introduction of means-testing by this Government did much to alleviate immediate pensioner poverty concerns but the benefits’ system threatens to tear apart its plans to auto-enrol the nation into personal accounts from 2012.
We await the DWP’s consultation paper on the matter later in the year, something that allowed the Government to conveniently sidestep the issue during this year’s Pensions Bill debates.
But the Government’s own figures, revealed by Money Marketing last month, show a big percentage of the target market will see a negligible benefit from saving in personal accounts.
As a party preparing for power, the Tories should be putting the utmost pressure on the Govern-ment to address an issue which threatens its whole reform pack-age as well as destroying any trust the public has left in pensions.
Money Marketing hopes Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary Chris Grayling and his team refuse to let the Government off the ropes during this year’s political conference season.
With a weak Prime Minister clinging to power and a Work and Pensions Secrtary whose star is rising and is open to new ideas, the industry must continue to make its case for a policy change.