Pensions minister Steve Webb will this week begin a radio “soapbox” tour as the Government scrambles to raise awareness of its radical reform programme before the general election.
The Liberal Democrat MP will take part in a series of radio phone-ins on pensions-related issues across the country ahead of the new Budget freedoms coming into force in April next year.
Webb will appear on BBC Radio 2’s ‘Jeremy Vine Show’ tomorrow before taking questions from listeners on radio stations serving Scotland, Manchester, Newcastle and Kent before Christmas. The Department for Work and Pensions says Webb will also appear on “dozens” of local stations in the New Year.
In addition, the DWP will be launching a “major” advertising campaign about the state pension reforms under the theme ‘Your Pension, Your Future’ this week. The Government has not yet disclosed how much will be spent on the campaign.
Webb says: “We are delivering some of the most radical reforms to our pensions system in a generation, introducing a clearer and fairer state pension and bringing in unprecedented flexibilities that give people the freedom to make their savings work for them.
“It’s only natural that people will have questions about what we’re doing, why we’re doing it and how it will affect them – and I want the chance to speak to as many of those people as possible.
“Politicians should be accessible and this is a great way for me to engage with people all over the country about pensions in a direct way.”
The Government’s awareness drive comes after Legal & General testing of the Budget “guidance guarantee” suggested take-up could be as low as 2.5 per cent. The Pensions Advisory Service, which will deliver telephone guidance, is assuming take-up will be around 25 per cent.