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The Minister was taking part in a debate organised jointly by the International Longevity Centre-UK and the Actuarial Profession entitled Pensions reform after the election: how the consensus can be maintained. The event was sponsored by Aviva.

The debate, which featured a number of eminent speakers, examined the future of pensions provision in Britain, both private and state, and examined how the challenge of providing for future generations can be met.

The Minister said: “At the start of a new government, the time is right to look at the big picture. Pensions policy has suffered from the curse of incrementalism in the past coherent systems have been tinkered with to the extent that they no longer function properly.”

He continued: “The state pension must be the foundation on which all other pensions policy is based and we will help ensure this by restoring the link between pensions and earnings.”

Charles Cowling, chair of the Actuarial Profession’s pension committee said: “It is heartening to hear a pensions minister look to the long term. Commitments towards simplification and giving people greater choice, including scrapping the mandatory retirement age, are welcome. The time for a frank and open debate on pensions is now. It cannot wait any longer. And the Actuarial Profession will play its part in ensuring that this debate is informed with fact and shapes a sustainable and fair pensions system.”

Baroness Sally Greengross, Chief Executive of the International Longevity Centre- UK added: “A whole new approach is needed if we are to deliver a future pension regime which is fair, sustainable and helps tackle pensioner poverty. It was clear from the debate that there is significant consensus on the objectives of future pensions reform. Pension reform is too important to become a political football.”

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