Featured ArticleGrasping the Nettle, or Not
“A week is a long time in politics” runs the old cliché, but when it comes to decisions on pensions and savings, the 5 year electoral cycle might be far too short.
As we move toward the end of the political conference season, and with the May 2015 General Election looming on the horizon, we’ve been treated to the latest raft of pensions related announcements from the Chancellor, and those who’d like to take the keys to Number 11 from him. Michael Johnson from the Centre for Policy Studies, the right-leaning ‘think the unthinkable’ think tank, has suggested that an independent Savings Commissioner could be created to elevate pensions policy above the constant back and forth of party politics. Its’ purpose would be to develop and consult on longer term policies for encouraging the nation’s retirement savings culture.
Many of the issues around savings and retirement planning are long term by their very nature. Given the difficult decisions that can be involved, the temptation for politicians can be to kick these issues down the road for the next lot to deal with. Strangely, politicians don’t tend to get a great deal of sympathy these days, but if your job and expenses rest on staying popular with the people, it’s clear there aren’t too many votes in telling people that they have to work longer before they get their State Pension. However, Johnson’s point is that the policies needed to strengthen the retirement savings culture are just too vital, both for individuals and the country as a whole, to be allowed to remain the clichéd ‘political football’. (more…)