The fudge that is “guidance” is top of the list of Ros Altmann’s priorities. She’s even written a letter to the Pensions Minister.
Lord McKenzie (Labour) and Lord Sharkey (LibDem) and I have written joint letter to Pensions Minister to stop him removing consumer protection and retaining default guidance to stop pension savers losing their money
— Ros Altmann (@rosaltmann) January 31, 2018
I wish that she could turn her mind to the 140,000 postal workers who don’t want guidance or advice, but want a wage for life from their retirement savings.
Yesterday morning, 60 people attended a meeting of the Friends of CDC, so many that our room was full to busting. We had insurers from Germany, civil servants from Whitehall, pension managers from the City and the odd front bench MP, thinking about the hardest, nastiest problem in finance – how to provide an income for yourself for the rest of your life.
We didn’t discuss guidance.
Give me freedom from these freedoms!
For the workers at the Royal Mail, the prospect of having to confront the hardest nastiest prospect in finance with the help of guidance or advice was not appealing. They had been promised a pension – a wage for life- and they had been prepared to strike for it.
Our meeting was looking at the tough choices that need to be made to satisfy them.
It is becoming clear to me that though “many flowers bloomed” in Steve Webb’s garden of “Defined Ambition”, only one crop can grow in the austere Brexit-dominated legislative landscape of the next three years.
I am not talking about abolishing freedoms, nor of reinstating annuities. I am talking about allowing a group of workers a third choice.
The talking at yesterday’s meeting was tough. There is no miracle cure that will solve all ailments , what can be produced in reasonable time , may be no more than a crude remedy. Many of the problems that ordinary people have with their DC pots, may have to wait. A universal solution (as ambitious politicians have found universal credit) causes as many problems as it solves. Reform of our pension system is not going to be wholesale- it may have to be local – it may have to trial solutions.
I do however believe that the postal workers need more than the “finger of fudge”, that Baroness Altmann is chasing disappearing rainbows and that what Terry Pullinger and his union want for his workers is a practical means of turning pots into pensions.
No amount of guidance can do that. Many people having been offered freedoms, are saying no thanks. DC pots are not enough, people want freedom from the bondage of uncertainty inflicted on them by the “hardest, nastiest problem in finance”.
Not guidance, not advice but a “wage for life”.
So this blog calls , and will continue to call on Government to address the needs of the many and put aside special pleading. This blog calls on Government to help the postal workers to a resolution of their differences with their employer, by granting them- and their employer – a mutually agreed means for the workers to get a wage for life in retirement.