NAPF conference:Purnell wants consensus on personal accounts

James Purnell, secretary of state for work and pensions, has called for continued consensus around personal accounts.

He told delegates at the National Association of Pension Funds’s (NAPF) annual conference and exhibition in Glasgow today (9 October) that the delivery of auto-enrolment and personal accounts would be a “significant challenge.”

Speaking at the event alongside new pensions minister Rosie Winterton, he called for consensus on the issue and attempted to ease concerns over the radical pensions reforms outlined in the Pensions Bill.

“It’s important that we have consensus around personal accounts and I also understand that people have questions about the effects they will have on other pension products”, he said. “Personal accounts will complement what already exists and in no way will compete with it.”

Rosie Winterton, who replaced Mike O’ Brien as pensions minister in Monday’s cabinet reshuffle, said: “The focus has now moved to the huge challenge of delivery that will take place in difficult economic times which presents other challenges as well.”

Purnell also said that employers had a fundamental role to play in increasing people’s confidence in pensions, which should be viewed as a long-term investment that will still be relevant when the markets recover.

“There still remains a hard core group of employees where more needs to be done to increase confidence”, he said