General Election 2017: Ros Altmann and Steve Webb say calls for specific pension policies are likely to fall on deaf ears

 
Oliver Gill
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Conservatives Campaign In The Third Week Of The General Election
Ros Altmann (right) said specific pensions policy is unlikely to be forthcoming from the Conservative party (Source: Getty)

The UK's next government needs to develop a clear and coherent pensions policy to help Britons save and invest their money more effectively, experts have urged.

Hargreaves Lansdown today called for a reform in pension tax relief; an extension of auto-enrolment to capture low earners and the self-employed; a simplification of Isa regimes and better financial education for youngsters in schools.

Read more: UK pension deficits are now lower than they were a year ago

“The next government should set a clear priority to encourage saving and investing for the whole population. It should put a stop to piecemeal policy-making and the salami-slicing of allowances," said Hargreaves Lansdown head of policy Tom McPhail.

Instead it should create a coherent, joined-up set of policies, with the goal of helping everyone to make more of their money, to invest for their future with confidence and to build a financially secure retirement.

Meanwhile, experts from Mercer called on all political parties to make a formal commitment to support the fact the public will need to work for longer in the future, as was concluded by a government commissioned report by John Cridland.

The UK leader of Mercer’s health and benefits business Tony Wood said: "It is imperative that all the recommendations of this review are addressed by those forming our new government and not kicked into the long grass.”

Not specific

Despite the calls, two former pensions ministers said it was unlikely the Conservative party, significantly ahead in the polls and expected to return to power after the 8 June election, will provide detailed plans on pension policy.

"My feeling is the Tories don't need to be to specific," Baroness Ros Altmann told City A.M..

Read more: Theresa May refuses to say pensions triple lock will stay in manifesto

Altmann added there was only one element of pensions policy a new Conservative government might make specific reference. She said: "If I was a betting person, I'd say they will keep their promise on the [pensions] triple lock until 2020."

Meanwhile Steve Webb, who served as pensions minister during the Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition, agreed it was unlikely the Conservatives would be "ultra-prescriptive". Otherwise, he added: "There is the risk that a manifesto gets written in haste and repealed in leisure."

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