Pensions coalition calls for ‘fair deal’

A new coalition is calling on the new government to deliver a new ‘fair deal’ on pensions.

Four organisations – the Trades Union Congress (TUC), Age Concern, Help the Aged and consumer watchdog Which? – have joined together to form the People’s Pensions Coalition to campaign for fair pensions reform.

A statement released by the new coalition, warned that Britain was heading towards a “pensions crisis”.

The Pensions Commission is currently examining the pensions system and exploring possible changes. Work and Pensions secretary David Blunkett has also not ruled out the possibility of introducing compulsory saving towards pensions. However, the People’s Pensions Coalition warned that most people could not afford to save for a pension, while those that can are not saving enough.

The coalition said that everyone should be able to depend on state pension provision, which “lifts pensioners above the poverty line”. The pension system also needed to be fairer for women, the coalition added, and should be based on the idea of everyone building up their own independent pensions entitlement.

The coalition also said that employers and employees should contribute to a pension, which would provide an additional pension on top of the state pension.

However, a survey published by the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) last week found that one in five firms would cut jobs if they were forced to pay into pension schemes for their employees. The BCC warned that forcing employers to pay into pension schemes for their staff would increase the cost of employing someone and force some firms to reduce their workforce in order to meet the cost.

Commenting on the new coalition, Mervyn Kohler, head of public affairs at Help the Aged, said: “The existing state pension system is failing to protect pensioners from poverty and does not provide a firm foundation for saving.

“The People’s Pension Coalition will work to convince the government that fudging the necessary decisions on pensions reform will not solve the pensions crisis. The government now has an obligation to ensure a decent retirement for both today’s and tomorrow’s pensioners.”


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