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Parties clash on pension policies

The Department for Work and Pensions&#39 proposals for improving take-up of occupational pensions schemes have been welcomed by the Conservatives and the TUC but the Liberal Democrats say the plans are wasting time.

The Tories support the proposal that employees should have to opt out rather than opt into company schemes.

But the LibDems accuse the Government of “twiddling their thumbs while pensions burn” and has branded the proposals for dealing with take-up of pensions in the workplace as another round of consultation when action is needed.

They say the Government is failing to grasp the urgency of the pension crisis which can only be dealt with by compulsory pension contributions.

Conservative Shadow pensions minister David Willetts says: “I was very pleased to read the Government&#39s latest initiative to tackle the pension crisis. It is exactly what I proposed in my speech at the annual National Association of Pension Funds conference last June. But if the Government really wants to tackle the pension crisis, they have got to implement all the other ideas in my speech as well, such as reforming state benefits and offering new incentives to save.”

LibDem Shadow work and pensions minister Steve Webb says: “Consultation documents are not enough – action is needed. People were not saving enough when the Government came into power but in the last seven years the savings gap has become a chasm. Compulsory pensions are the only way to solve the savings crisis.”

TUC general secretary Brendan Barber says: “Many of the Government&#39s proposals to improve take-up are welcome and the automatic enrolment of employees into occupational schemes is a step in the right direction towards compulsion.”

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