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Waterson warns that pensions could lose focus

Former Shadow pensions minister Nigel Waterson says pension reform may stall as Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith and pensions minister Steve Webb are focused on other issues.

At the Money Marketing Retirement Summit in Dublin last week, Waterson said Duncan Smith’s main focus is welfare while Webb’s focus is on benefits. He said: “I believe Iain Duncan Smith’s work on welfare reform has been ground-breaking but his social justice commission has done no work specifically on pensions. It is hardly surprising the main thrust of the new management at the DWP is going to be welfare reform.

It will use up considerable energy, legislative time and political capital so there will not be a lot left over for pensions. I am sure Steve Webb would not quibble if I said his main interest has really been the benefits system, on which he is pretty knowledgeable.”

He said coalition politics has so far shown that everything “becomes a matter of compromise, which could lead to delay and fudging of issues”.
Waterson also warned over the coalition parties’ tensions on Europe.

He said: “Whoever is in Government, we need a firm policy of resisting further encroachment from the EU. My concern is the tension between the impeccably Euro-sceptic Iain Duncan Smith and the Europhile LibDems.”

Webb says: “We are absolutely committed to pension reform and have already taken bold steps.”


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There are 2 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. Waterson is talking pure tosh out of sour grapes he did not get the pensions spot. Webb is streets ahead of Waterson in understanding pensions and is very focussed on it.

  2. “We are absolutely committed to pension reform and have already taken bold steps.” Oh yeah? Like announcing an end to compulsory annuitisation by no later than age 75 which, if memory serves, was done by Labour as of A-Day in 2006?

    The bold step most desperately needed is not to claim credit for something that happened four years ago but to remove GAD Rates from the retirement income process. That means an Income DrawDown product designed to utilise the entire fund over the remaining life of the pensioner with an insured element to ensure maintenance of the same level of income if the fund burns out early or if the pensioner lives longer than predicted. It’s dead simple and would represent a major boost to the perceived worth of retirement saving, not to mention liberating massively more taxable income flowing into the economy. What’s to say no to?

    The word I’d use to describe Waterson’s words is considerably less polite than tosh.

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