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Tory MP makes fourth bid for annuity reform

The latest bid to end compulsory annuity purchase started last week with the first reading of a private member&#39s bill from Conservative MP Adrian Flook.

The bill is the fourth attempt to change the law on annuities in as many years following attempts by Tory MPs Sir John Butterfill, David Currie and Edward Garnier.

The latest move has cross-party support, with former welfare reform minister Frank Field and Liberal Democrat work and pensions spokesman Steve Webb both backing the Bill, together with the proposers of the three previous bills and Conservative MP Andrew Lansley.

The bill, which has the support of pressure group the Retirement Income Reform Campaign, will get its second reading on March 26.

Flook intends to base his Bill on Garnier&#39s bill, – a refinement of Currie&#39s Bill – requiring individuals to buy an annuity sufficient to keep them off state benefits.

Like Garnier and Currie&#39s bills, Flook wants the abolition of underwriting annuities on the grounds of gender which in the past has been supported by of a number of backbench Labour MPs, including Jeremy Corbyn.

Flook says: “I want to take the debate away from Whitehall and the Treasury and put it in the public domain to democratise it.

“We have to accept that this will not affect a huge amount of people but there is a principle here. This is about putting the emphasis back on to choice for the individual.”

Retirement Income Reform Campaign director Dr Oonagh McDonald says: “This is the fourth Bill we have supported on annuity reform since 2000. Surely the Government must listen to the ever-growing demands for reform.”

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