Pensions  

I do not want to be known as ‘the man who ended annuities’ – Webb

Steve Webb does not want to be remembered as the pensions minister who abolished pensions, he has said.

The pensions minister told the Westminster Employment Forum: “I do not want to be remembered as the pensions minister who abolished pensions. I am not against annuities.”

Mr Webb said that while he did not wish to see the end of annuities, he disagreed with recent criticism of the pension reforms from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

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He said: “It is funny how organisations have a kind of collective position, and the OECD has a collective position.

“Britain does something radical and revolutionary and the institutional conservatism of the OECD is to say that is not how we have told people that pensions work.”

He added that time would prove that the reforms, announced in the March Budget, were a success.

Mr Webb also claimed that auto-enrolment had been a success so far, but that it would have its greatest effect on small businesses.

He said: “With the smallest firms it is virgin territory, so I think the take-up will be pretty good. We are offering people a pension who have not had one at all.”

According to The Pensions Regulator, approximately 4.5m workers had been automatically enrolled into work-based pension schemes and nearly 28,000 businesses had met their new legal duties as of 1 October 2014, the second anniversary of auto-enrolment beginning.