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Serps&#39 creator Barbara Castle led the fight for fair play in pensions

The creation of a supplementary state pension scheme which actually worked is one of the most overlooked but significant achievements of fomer Labour minister Barbara Castle, who died last week aged 91.

As Health and Social Security Secretary from 1974 to 1976 during Wilson&#39s Government, Castle created the state earnings-related pension scheme, which many advisers regard as one of the few steps forward in state pension policy.

In her late 80s, Baroness Castle was a formidable critic of New Labour as part of the National Pensioners Convention which campaigned for restoring the state pensions earnings link.

She condemned New Lab-our&#39s savings initiatives for increased use of means testing which she argued penalised pensioners who had saved.

She also criticised the replacement of Serps with the state second pension.

Castle often embarrassed the Government from the party conference platform, famously railing at the 75p increase in the state pension in 1999.

The financial services industry may not have agreed with Castle&#39s socialist beliefs but many admired her efforts to put some fairness back into pensions.

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