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Support growing for Rifkind’s annuity bill

Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary Malcolm Rifkind’s Rights of Savers Bill moves to comm-ittee stage next week amid speculation that a consensus could be developing around at least parts of the bill.

The private member’s bill proposes axing some annu- ity rules, increasing the port- ability of company pensions and introducing a savings and retirement account – Sara – which would allow people to draw down money early in some circumstances.

The Government is said t be sympathetic to some asp- ects of the proposals, depending on its strategy after the Turner report.

Pensions minister Stephen Timms has said that at this stage he cannot give the bill his support, with this lack of outright rejection seen as positive by supporters of the bill.

As well as Timms, other Labour members of the cross-party legislative committee include former minister for welfare reform Frank Field as well as backbenchers Kate Hoey and Kelvin Hopkins, who have voted against the Government on several occasions.

LibDem Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary David Laws says that he will support the plans to axe inflexible rules on annuities and allow porta- bility of company pensions although he is more cautious about the Sara proposal.

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