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State pension is the weakest link, warns Pickering

Former Government pension adviser Alan Pickering has warned that state provision remains the weak link in the pension system.

Now a senior consultant at Watson Wyatt, Pickering says the Government should take a greater interest in the state pension system ahead of the launch of personal accounts in 2012.

He says it is impossible to meet people’s retirement needs if the state system is so weak.

He says: “Everyone involved should not allow a debate on what the private sector should do without focusing on the state pension too.”

Pickering claims that the cost of living for most people is £120 a week but the state pension is only £90. He says: “There is a need to close this gap. Until then, IFAs and employers, among others, cannot tell people to save in pensions.”

Pickering adds that pensions are proving a big noise in the industry at the moment due to the continuing market turbulence.

He says: “In a UK equivalent of a McCain versus Obama debate, I would like to see the size of the basic state pension discussed.”

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