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MP claims that Hutton debate is being dodged

The Government is avoiding a dedicated Parliamentary debate about its plans for pension reforms, having already rejected two Labour requests, according to Treasury select committee member Andy Love.

During last week’s Budget, Chancellor George Osborne accepted Lord Hutton’s proposals for public sector pension reform and announced he will consult on how best to implement them.

The reform package, which Hutton said should be implemented in full, calls for final salary to be replaced by career average provision, and the public sector pension age to be brought in line with the state pension age.

Earlier this month, Labour MP for Edmonton Love asked Leader of the House Lord Young for a Parliamentary debate on the implications of the Hutton report.

Love’s request was rej- ected and he was told there would be an opportunity to discuss it during the Budget debate.

It follows Lord Young’s rejection of Work and Pensions select committee chair Anne Begg’s request in February for a debate on the effect on women of the rise in state pension age.

Young said it would be an “appropriate” subject for debate on International Women’s Day.

Speaking to Money Marketing, Love says he is “dismayed” that requests for debates on the changes are being rejected by the Government.

He says: “There is a reluctance on the Government’s part to have a proper discussion. I was amazed we were fobbed off by including it in other debates because the central point Anne and I were trying to get across was that these issues are important enough for their own debate.”

The Budget debate was spread over four days, from Wednesday last week to Monday. Love says he recognises Parliamentary time is limited but is concerned that the implications of Hutton will be lost.

He says: “Tying it into the Budget debate means it will get tied up with all the issues around tax changes and public expenditure and the amount of time for a debate on the Hutton proposals will be very limited.”

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