UK- Andrew Smith, the pensions and work secretary, has ruled out scrapping the second state pension to make way for a simpler system.

Speaking at a TUC pensions conference in his first speech since replacing Alistair Darling, he said: “the overall pensions framework is the right one and the government will continue to build on the changes already made.”

The announcement will disappointment those who have called for its abolition, including the National Association of Pension Funds and the think tank the Institute for Public Policy Research.

He stressed the government is committed to cutting bureaucracy and providing a range of simpler products. “Reform should be based on the principles of enabling people to make better-informed choices in saving for their retirement and ensuring better information to help people make more meaningful choices.”

Alan Pickering, former chairman of the NAPF, is expected to deliver a report on pensions simplification to Mr Smith next month. And as of next April, an increasing number of employees will receive an ongoing statement of how much they can expect at retirement from their state and private pensions.

Smith added that people should be allowed to be able to make a gradual transition from work to retirement. “We need to give people real opportunities and incentives to enable people to stay in the workplace for longer- where they want to,” he said.

He said the government would get rid of the perverse incentives to retire even when it might suit people to carry on working, perhaps part time, for longer.