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Wells Street Journal: Iron fists and soggy gloves

If Gordon Brown ruled the Treasury with an iron fist, George Osborne seems to prefer a soggy glove.

Details of the Government’s adviser-shafting guidance guarantee were supposed to be kept secret as Westminster protocol requires announcements to be made to Parliament first.  Not that it stops ministers appearing on the idiotbox to plug pet projects at breakfast-time.

The Treasury put out a press release containing hardly any detail on Sunday with a condition that nobody was approached for interview until Monday – the day of the announcement. Shhh, don’t tell anyone, it whispered.

Yet almost four hours before the Treasury and the FCA published the details, the Government’s wrinkly worker tsar Ros Altmann sent out a press release revealing all, presumably after being briefed by Osborne or one of his chums. 

It detailed tax changes, a new requirement for DB to DC transfers to be advised and that guidance would be via a new brand. She even helpfully suggested a catchy name (National Retirement Guidance), something the Treasury has yet to manage.

WSJ’s sister title Money Marketing called the Treasury asking for confirmation that a new brand was planned. They were left slack-jawed when the response came: “Sorry, what guidance?”

Perhaps instead of the sarcastic note saying there’s no money left, Labour could have done Osborne a favour and left Gordon’s iron fist.



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