Pensions  

Altmann forecasts Tory backtrack on pensions policy

Altmann forecasts Tory backtrack on pensions policy

Former pensions minister Baroness Altmann has said it is unlikely there will be significant pension reforms in this parliament.

She said the Conservative Party is unlikely to go ahead with some of its more controversial manifesto pledges, such as scrapping the triple lock and the winter fuel allowance.

Speaking at the Marketforce Future of Life and Pensions conference in London yesterday (15 June), she said: “I would expect that the government will last and we are not going to face another general election any time soon.

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“The policy agenda is likely to be slimmed down. I think there is probably little doubt that the manifesto plans are not going to go ahead and will be abandoned.”

Baroness Altmann, who was pensions minister between May 2015 and June 2016, said the government was unlikely to take any new action as a result of the Cridland review.

She also predicted that new action on auto-enrolment was unlikely to avoid placing new burdens on business while the UK is leaving the European Union.

But Baroness Altmann said this was no reason why some of the issues facing pensions should not be addressed.

She said: “Very little substantial will go through parliament so a lot of the change probably needs to be industry-led and there is a lot we can do.

“With auto-escalation, they can start that now if the employers agree. The pensions dashboard is industry-led.”

She added that social care was an issue which particularly needed to be addressed.

Baroness Altmann said: “Social care is the biggest single issue we will face over the next couple of decades and we need a national solution.

“There is no doubt that the system is broken and it is also breaking the NHS and in large measure it can explain the political situation we are in now.

“There is no money set aside. We think about the pensions crisis but there are billions of pounds earmarked for people pensions when they come to want them.

“There is zero either at the government level or the family level for future care needs.”

damian.fantato@ft.com