Pensions - Articles - Additional comments on Conservative manifesto on pensions


Additional industry comments from Spence & Partners, Lincoln Pensions and Nucleus Financial on the Conservative Manifesto with regards to pensions

 Hugh Nolan, President of the Society of Pension Professionals and Director at Spence & Partners, said:  “The triple lock is unsustainable with our ageing population and so it’s good to see the Conservative Party being honest about this uncomfortable truth. Whilst Labour and the Lib-Dems want to keep the triple lock for the moment, they might have to change that policy by the time inflation is next below 2.5% so there may not actually be as big a difference between the parties as it seems at a first glance. Pensions look like a typical battleground for this election with Labour promising benefits that might be unaffordable, the Lib-Dems flying the flag for equality, and the Tories being ruthlessly realistic."
 
 “Pensioners have been the main beneficiaries of political tinkering with pensions and benefits recently, reflecting the power of the grey vote over unregistered youngsters. A confident Conservative Party clearly feels the time has come to challenge that with the removal of the triple lock, social care changes that will lead to homeowners leaving a much lower inheritance to the next generation, and proposed means-testing for the winter fuel allowance. The public now faces a real choice on whether to accept some form of higher taxation in return for higher State support.”
  
 With regards to the State Pensions Age, Hugh Nolan, added: "We support linking State Pension Age to life expectancy to keep the State pension affordable, particularly if this is accompanied by the Cridland recommendation for extra support for those who can't work all the way through to the revised retirement age."
  
 
 Darren Redmayne, CEO of Lincoln Pensions, said:  “It's a brave decision to water down the pensions triple lock from 2020 and along with social care reforms and means-testing winter fuel policies, it's clear that the Government recognises the generational issues building-up with the current retired generation benefiting from triple-lock and defined-benefit pension arrangements. However, these reforms will all have significant impacts on middle-class pensioners that are traditional conservative voters.” 
  
 On the Pensions Regulator’s powers, Darren Redmayne added:  “While company director fines and disqualifications don’t directly help pension schemes, strengthening the Regulator’s powers in mergers and takeover situations could better protect members – as ever though the devil will be in the detail.”
  
  
 Rachel Vahey, product technical manager at Nucleus Financial comments: “The Conservatives have chosen to break the manifesto mould of preserving pensioner benefits. One of the headlines is the decision to ditch the triple lock on state pensions.
 They have obviously paid heed to both the Work and Pensions Committee and the John Cridland’s independent review of state pension age which recommended abandoning the triple lock. This could be seen as a signal they mean to tackle intergenerational unfairness in an effort to appeal to a wider share of the electorate. Retaining the triple lock would have been an easy decision, as the replacement double lock (where the state pension will rise in line with the higher of earnings or inflation) may cost just as much over the next parliament. But in the longer term this change could ease the impact on future governments’ finances.
  
 Automatic enrolment has been one of the standout successes for pensions in recent years, and we are very pleased the Conservatives would like to extend it to include the self-employed. Generally, the self-employed are not making enough plans to save for later life. However, in the absence of an employer contribution we need to find a way of enticing them to remain automatically enrolled and save for their future.
  
 A promise to promote long-term savings and pension products could help strengthen the UK’s saving habits. But the messages surrounding pensions and interaction with Lifetime ISA need to be crystal clear. Both could prove excellent ways of saving for the future, but they could be more suited to different people at different times of their lives.”

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