UK – The UK’s pension minister says each country will need to find its own solution to pension problems.

“Each country will need their own solutions,” said Andrew Smith, secretary of state for work and pensions. “Each country needs its own specific tailored solutions.”

There was no single off-the-shelf model of reform that could be applied across the board, Smith told a conference on the future of European pensions in London today. There were many institutional, political and cultural barriers that will hinder the development of a pan-European pension system, he said.

The UK was better placed than some other European countries to meet the demographic challenge. “We’ve done quite a lot of ageing already.” “We have a fiscally sustainable pension system,” he said. Pensioner incomes were rising twice as fast as average earnings.

He said that around three million UK citizens were not saving enough for their retirement, and that between five and 10 million more people “might consider saving more or working longer”.

Pension regulation, he said, needed to be “transparent, proportionate and effective”. He conceded that some regulations had become “disproportionately burdensome”. He stuck with the current voluntary system. “I’m determined to make the voluntary system work better,” he said – though he has set up a commission under former Confederation of British Industry chief Adair Turner to look into the issue of “voluntarism”.