Renewed calls on govt to set up pensions commission

Renewed calls on govt to set up pensions commission

Two think tanks have called on the government to set up a pensions commission after it found cross-party support for such an initiative.

Minister for pensions and financial inclusion Guy Opperman suggested in June 2019 that the government could back a new independent pensions commission to address a whole host of retirement issues.

The last Pensions Commission, chaired by Adair Turner, was set up by the government in 2002 and issued two reports in 2004 and 2006, respectively.

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Now, the Fabian Society and Bright Blue – a centre-left and a centre-right think tank – have set out a detailed blueprint for how this body could work, based on expert consultation.

They stated the new commission should be established in 2020 and last until 2022 at the latest, while plans for the body to then become a permanent scrutiny organisation, such as the Office for Budget Responsibility, should be developed.

The commission would provide regular forecasts and analysis, and host major thematic reviews of policy every 10 years, the think tanks added.

The initial review should be tasked to respond to specific problems facing pensions policy – such as the future of auto-enrolment and pension decumulation – but the permanent body should have an open remit to examine all pension-related issues.

The future of the state pension age should be excluded from the initial review, as there is currently a separate review process for this, they noted.

Mr Opperman said: “Over the past decade, Conservative and coalition governments have made huge strides to improve pensions for the next generation, with the introduction of auto-enrolment, an enhanced state pension and the development of the pensions dashboard.

“A new commission has cross-party support and will help us map out the future of auto-enrolment, so we can boost contribution rates in the coming decades and explore how we can support savers with pension freedom reforms.”

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