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Lord Hutton admits pension commission regrets

Former Labour work and pensions secretary Lord John Hutton admits he regrets not supporting the launch of a permanent independent pensions commission while in government.

A permanent commission was suggested as part of Lord Turner’s investigation of the sector in 2005, when Hutton was in post at the Department for Work and Pensions.

Speaking to Money Marketing, Hutton says: “I do regret turning down the recommendation from Turner that we should come up with a standing commission and I think we need to reverse that.

“Getting the right people is really critical but Adair Turner, John Hills and Jeannie Drake were the right people to do it.”

Hutton says an independent body would be able to steer policy towards long-term goals. 

In recent weeks, Labour has set out plans to slash pensions tax relief in order to fund a tuition fees cut.

Hutton says: “[Policymakers] should be keeping the rest of that money in the savings pot.

“It’s clear to me we need to re-energise that approach to policy thinking in pensions.”

Hutton’s intervention follows a recommendation from the Work and Pensions select committee that an independent commission be established by the next government. 

The creation of a new pensions commission is one of several proposals put forward in a report led by Hutton and investment consul-tancy Redington.

The report, titled The Age of Res-ponsibility, also calls for the UK to introduce a new national retirement savings target of 15 per cent to avoid
a “demographic abyss”.

Such a target should be part of a public information drive similar to the ongoing “five a day” campaign aimed at improving the UK’s diet, Redington says. 

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