The Liberal Democrats have accused Labour for constructing a pensions system that is ‘both complex and ineffective.'
In setting out his party's 10-point plan for pension reform, Lib Dem leader Charles Kennedy calls for the scrapping of ‘unfair’ means testing, adding: “Means-testing has helped create a pensions system which is in a complete muddle - both complex and ineffective.”
Kennedy says millions of pensioners are living in poverty, while many women are left with ‘insultingly small pensions’, with a system too complex for comprehension by individuals.
As a result, the party has submitted its proposal for reform to the chairman of the Pension Commission Adair Turner, recommending an Independent Pensions Authority be set up to ensure pensions are "politician proof".
Additional recommendations include finding a range of incentives to boost the take up of second pensions, along with increased individual responsibility on saving.
Kennedy says: “Our vision is that as many people as possible should have their own additional pensions, on top of the Citizen's Pension, and not at the whim of the government of the day.”
The party also calls on the Commission to resist calls for compulsory pensions, adding: “No change in the state pension age should take place before 2030 at earliest.”
The Lib Dems accuse Brown and Blair of dragging their feet on pension reform, by delaying any serious reforms until the life of the next Parliament, demanding immediate reform to put and end to confusion over retirement planning.
Kennedy says: “At present, we are left to conclude that, in defence of his means-tested pensions system, Gordon Brown is digging in, and trying to string out consultation into the next Parliament.
"We cannot afford any further dithering and delay on fundamental pensions reform,” he adds.
Liberal Democrat Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary, David Laws MP, also waded in calling the government's pension system an ‘unsustainable mess.’
He says: "The Liberal Democrats are determined to play a constructive role in pressing for reform, and we believe that there must be legislation in this parliament."
If you have any comments you would like to add to this story or would like to speak to its author about a similar subject, telephone Gareth Vorster on 020 7968 4554 or email [email protected].IFAonline
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