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‘Restrictions would be a dangerous route’

Rowanmoor says restricting Asps based on religion and forcing everyone else to buy an annuity at 75 would be a “misrepresentation of trust” on behalf of the Government.

In a letter to Treasury Economic Secretary Ed Balls, Rowanmoor director David Seaton accuses the Government of making no reference to its policy of forced annuitisation in the 2002 consultation paper that preceded the Finance Bill 2004.

It says the bill, which explained that Asps would be introduced principally for people with religious objections to annuities, followed along similar lines.

Seaton says: “The Government’s radical consultation document on pension simplification, which was issued in December 2002, made no reference to the Government’s policy being forced annuitisation at 75. To suggest otherwise is a misrepresentation of trust.

“I believe that restricting Asps is an unconstitutional and extremely dangerous route to follow, bearing in mind the multicultural nature of the British people.”

But Standard Life head of pensions policy John Lawson says: “Although the original 2002 CP did not mention its disapproval of all options except forced annuitisation at age 75, the process of the Finance Bill 2004 did make this point clear.”

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