The Trades Union Congress (TUC) has joined with a group of charity pension groups to form a new People's Pensions Coalition in a campaign calling for a radical pensions settlement in the UK.
Consumer group Which?, Help the Aged and Age Concern, have joined the TUC to champion compulsory contributions in the workplace on top of state pensions.
It accuses successive governments past and present of along with employers of ‘stoking up a pensions crisis’ by retreating from their duty to provide sufficient income for retirement pointing to the current failure of the voluntary system consisting of those who do provide decent pensions being undercut by those who do not.
The four organisations call for more choice regarding the how and when people retire, they stand opposed to retirement ages being set by the state or employers. The group also believes the UK should move towards a system where individuals construct their own independent pensions entitlement.
Moreover, the coalition says a new system should be based on the UK’s future pensioners and not those with vested interests in pensions, replacing a system it says is one of the ‘most complex in the world.’
TUC general secretary Brendan Barber says: “This is an unprecedented alliance for a radical new pensions settlement. Many in the pensions debate are vested interests. Their lobbying is entirely legitimate, but this powerful coalition speaks for millions. Ministers and the Turner Commission should take careful note.”
Director general at Age Concern , Gordon Lishman adds a complete overhaul of the pension system is needed to address pensioner poverty, ensure fairness for those modest earners and provide women and carers with the ability to build up an adequate retirement income.
Mervyn Kohler, head of public affairs at Help the Aged concludes: “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."
The new group also lobbies for the establishment of a new independent pensions body, adding: “It should provide early warnings of new challenges, suggest changes to government, safeguard the future of pensions and ensure policy continuity.”
The coalition forms a day after work and pensions secretary, David Blunkett told BBC One's The Politics Show, compulsory savings are being considered, with no decision yet taken on the matter.
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