Pension funds react to Chancellor's Autumn Statement
29 November 2011
The National Association of Pension Funds (NAPF), the UK’s leading voice of workplace pensions, today reacted to several aspects of the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement. All quotes are attributable to Joanne Segars, NAPF Chief Executive.
STATE PENSION AGE RISE
“Longer lives do mean more time at work, so it is understandable that the rise to 67 will start earlier. The Government has learned from its recent mistake and is giving people sufficient notice this time.
“The payoff for extra years at work must be a simpler, more generous state pension that people can build their savings on. The Government needs to prioritise the creation of this new ‘foundation’ state pension, and the Chancellor’s silence on this was disappointing.”
STATE PENSION UPRATING
“State pensions are increasing by 5.2%, which is the highest inflation link the Government could have used. Pensioners should be happy that Osborne resisted the temptation to pick a lower rate.”
"We're keen to work with the Government to try to make it easier for pension funds to back big infrastructure. The UK desperately needs to update its infrastructure, and pension funds are hungry for stable, long-term, inflation-linked investments.
“The Government hopes to unlock £20bn, but the amount that comes from pension funds depends on the structure of the investment platform and the pricing of the assets. We are at a very early stage, and there are no plans or details on the table yet. We look forward to developing proposals with the Treasury over the coming months.”
FINANCIAL TRANSACTION TAX
“The Government is right to push back against these plans. This tax would have picked on savers, not bankers. It would have hiked costs for many employers struggling with a weak economy while trying to provide a good pension. We understand the need to secure financial stability, but this is the wrong approach.”
EMPLOYER ASSET-BACKED PENSION CONTRIBUTIONS
“Many employers have used physical assets to help strengthen their pension funds. There is a case for some reworking of the tax rules around this approach. But these are assets which help guarantee staff pensions, and the Government must not block this route.”
“It is disappointing that the Government won’t be issuing CPI-linked gilts anytime soon. With more pension funds now having their liabilities matched to CPI there will be increasing demand for these gilts.
“With CPI-linked gilts off the menu, the Debt Management Office must increase its supply of RPI linkers and long-dated gilts. The small increases announced by Osborne do not go far enough.”
Notes to Editors
1. The NAPF is the leading voice of workplace pensions in the UK. We speak for 1,200 pension schemes with some 15 million members and assets of around £800 billion. NAPF members also include over 400 businesses providing essential services to the pensions sector.
Paul Platt, Head of Media, NAPF, 020 7601 1717 or 07917 506 683, [email protected]
Christian Zarro, Press Officer, NAPF, 020 7601 1718 or 07825 171 446, [email protected]