Work & Pensions minister accuses previous Government of ‘tinkering’ for short-term gain

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The new work and pensions minister, David Gauke recently criticised past Governments who ‘tinkered around the edges’ with pensions policy. Reported in the Financial Times, Gauke, who was appointed last June, following the snap election, said the coalition government and the Conservative administrations since 2015 had taken a more long-term approach.

 

 “In the past, successive Governments have sometimes ‘tinkered around the edges’, making layers and layers of small changes, rather than making fundamental reforms,” he wrote.
“But since 2010, the Government has worked hard to address this, making substantial reform where it is needed and thinking long term about how we can ensure that tomorrow’s pensioners can have the retirement they deserve.”

David Gauke, Secretary of State for Work & Pensions 

 

Gauke particularly cited changes to the state pension, where he said ‘years of small-scale reforms had led to a very complex system’, and hailed the 2016 introduction of the new state pension.
He did, however, recognise that transitional arrangements had made it hard for those nearer to retirement age to understand how it affected them.

The minister did also refer to the Government’s response to John Cridland’s review of the state pension age, which it was required to respond to by early May but deliberately missed the deadline due to the calling of the snap general election.
Gauke said: ‘We need a state pension age that is both fair and sustainable and we need people to approach retirement feeling confident, including in the security of their pension.’

In a speech at the Association of British Insurers’ long-term savings conference after the opinion piece was published, the minister hinted the Government would follow Cridland’s recommendations.
Gauke also outlined how the success of Automatic Enrolment, so far provides an opportunity to ‘create new and engaging products’ for newly-engaged staff, and that this should be expanded to include approximately 4.8 million self-employed people, including workers in the gig economy.

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About the author

Head of Workplace Savings at Jelf Employee Benefits. Nick has a deep understanding of UK pensions and employee benefits, gained from 30 years’ experience in the industry. Nick has extensive knowledge of working across employee benefit specialisms to co-ordinate services covering Pension, Group Risk, Medical, and Flexible Benefits for small, medium and large employers. Nick holds the Diploma in Financial Planning and is approved as a Financial Adviser with the Financial Conduct Authority.