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Tory tactics push through bill for annuity reform

The case for annuity reform received a strong endorsement last week when a private member&#39s bill sailed through the House of Commons at its second reading.

Conservative MP David Curry&#39s Pensions Annuities (Amendment) Bill compels people to purchase an annuity by age 65 but only to the point that they are clear of the need for state benefits. They are then free to invest the rest of their pension pot as they wish.

Using wily tactics, the Tories rallied their backbenchers on Friday, when the chamber is usually empty, to win a motion for closure which forces a vote.

The Tories then defeated the Government in the vote in possibly its most embarrassing defeat this Parliament.

The victory means little for the chances of the bill being passed into law, as the Government will use its overwhelming majority to defeat it at a later stage, but it raises publicity for the cause of annuity reform.

The Treasury is expected to publish a consultation paper on annuities before the end of the month and a spokesman says the bill will have no effect on this.

Curry says: “I hope the debate will encourage the Government to consider our proposals seriously to see whether Parliament cannot assuage the genuine concerns of people who have retired or who are approaching retirement and fear the annuities trap.”

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