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.”