I made a comment during the Opposition day debate on fiscal rules in the House yesterday on an issue which is very close to my heart – pensions.
“Does my hon. Friend (Philip Hammond the Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury) share my concern about the situation of pension scheme members? Obviously, pension schemes have been badly hit by the falls in the stock market, and someone purchasing an annuity is in a very difficult situation. Has not the Government’s £5 billion-a-year raid on the pension funds been masked to an extent by the rises in the stock market over recent years? Are we not now paying the price?”
It just seems wrong that a pension scheme member could be forced by Government rules to buy his pension annuity today, leaving him with a low pension for life, because his fund has collapsed in value over recent days. There is every chance that in a few years’ time he would get a far better pension for life, after the Stock market has recovered from the current credit crunch shock.
I am glad that David Cameron has now taken up this point and hope the Government will suspend the rule speedily.