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Personal accounts are ‘a train crash’

Liberal Democrat Treasury spokesman Lord Oakeshott claims personal accounts are “a train crash” and accuses the Government of pretending that there is a political consensus over their introduction.

Speaking at a post-Budget debate hosted by Lansons last week, Oakeshott accused the Government of sleepwalking into the “nightmare” of pers-onal accounts and said there needed to be a proper rollout of national advice. He said the LibDems had tried to move amendments in the Lords to ensure that proper pension advice is provided, particularly for people over 50, but said these were rejected because the Conservatives did not back them.

Oakeshott said: “There is going to be the most monumental disaster and total loss of confidence in pensions when personal accounts start. The Government is sort of sleepwalking and pretending there is a consensus and we are getting more and more concerned. We have really got to start ringing alarm bells on this. It is going to be a nightmare and more people are just losing confidence in pension savings altogether.”

Labour Treasury select committee member Andy Love said: “It is clear that the amount of money that will go into those accounts will not deliver dignity in retirement and we do have to look very carefully right across the income scale to ensure we use the limited resources that we have to their best effect.”

Scottish Life head of pensions strategy Steve Bee says: “The political consensus is that something needs to be done on pension provision but there is no consensus on personal accounts. On a national advice service, there simply are not that many advisers to give advice to that many people.”

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