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UK wants “protection” for pension scheme members

UK – The UK’s pensions minister has said that the government wants to provide protection for pension scheme members who feel “vulnerable”.

The minister for work and pensions, Andrew Smith, told parliament in a debate yesterday: “We want to provide protection for scheme members who feel vulnerable at the moment because of the schemes that have closed.”

And he said the way to deal with the current pension crisis is via informed choice, flexibility in retirement and a “radical simplification of the pensions landscape”. He also mooted letting people choose to draw down a pension and work part-time. But he said: “It is not for the Government to say that people ought to work longer.”

“The key thing is that they have a choice that enables them to bring into correspondence their expectations of income in retirement and their other interests. “All that and more will be in our response to the Green Paper, he told MPs.

He commend companies such as retailers B&Q and Asda, “which have led the way not only in making the business case for employing older people but in showing that that has commercial and customer benefits”.

“That extension of choice, together with a simpler occupational pensions system and greater security within that system, is the sensible way forward.”

He responded to the Institute of Directors, who have said the government is “barely scratching the surface of the pension problem”. He said: “We shall carefully consider those and the other 800 or more responses to the Green Paper.”

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