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Steve Bee calls for halt to Pensions Bill while means-testing impact is assessed

Scottish Life head of pensions strategy Steve Bee is calling for the Pensions Bill to be put on hold until the Government has assessed the impact of means-testing on personal accounts.

Last week, the Department for Work and Pensions confirmed it would be conducting a study into the impact of means-tested benefits on savers in personal accounts after repeated calls from opposition parties and providers to address the issue.

The results of the study are due to be published towards the end of the year once the Pensions Bill has become an Act.

But pension commentators have accused the Government of stalling on the means-testing issue and say this is a ploy to get the Pensions Bill pushed through without addressing the issue.

Bee says: “The worry is that the presence of widespread means-tested support for the elderly could mean that it may not benefit people to save.  It will be easy for people to work out that the scheme doesn’t provide good value for money and they won’t stay in it.

“I would have thought it better to put the Bill on the back burner while the Government go away and check just how many people are likely to be affected. 

“Why carry on with making the Pension Bill into law before we know the answer to the big question?  In effect, if this report is accurate, what we’re being told here is that the Pensions Bill, when it finally goes through, could well be the subject of almost immediate and fundamental amendment.  Essentially this reads to me like advance notice of retrospective legislation.”


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