Aegon: pensions crucial election issue

More than four in five people (81%) think pensions are more important or at least as important in this general election compared to the election five years ago.

Research carried out for Aegon by YouGov also showed that 59% of respondents believe the government should do all it can to maintain future generations’ retirement even if it means extra cost in the short term.

As a result of the findings, Aegon has released a pensions manifesto, The Pensions Crunch: proposals for change, which highlights that the UK’s long term economic growth is threatened by the “pensions crunch” and suggests that the party that wins the election must make tough choices to deal with the demands of an ageing population.

Aegon recommends that the incoming government take the following actions: call an immediate halt to the slicing of pensions tax relief; undertake a review of the automatic enrolment arrangements, to be introduced in 2012, to make it easier for employers to maintain existing schemes and to ensure fewer people are caught by the means-testing trap; and commission an urgent review into public sector pensions to bring unfunded liabilities under control.

Otto Thoresen, Aegon UK chief executive, said: “Pensions policy is more important now than at any time before due to the pressures on the economy from an ageing population. Longevity isn’t a choice for the UK, it’s a certainty.

“And the question isn’t whether or when we start to pay for it, but how we start to do so now. But tackling the ‘pension crunch’ shouldn’t be seen as an unwelcome cost challenge, rather it’s part of the solution to future fiscal and economic stability.

“That means making sure investment in providing for an ageing population is made as efficiently as possible, and shaping policy so it tackles the barriers to businesses, individuals and the public purse all paying a fair share.”

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