Autumn Statement: Hey politicians – leave our pensions alone
In March George Osborne surprised all except the select few who knew in advance about the pension changes. His reforms have largely been welcomed, and they should go a long way to making pensions more popular. This was essential as since the bizarre decision in 1988 to ban employers from making pension schemes compulsory, we have seen a generation which, apart from those working in the Public Sector, has largely been without pensions.
In the Autumn Statement he had to tidy up a number of issues. He had promised to cover ‘pension death taxes’ at this time, although political expediency led to an earlier announcement. HMT though were confused, but the chancellor has now clarified that the changes will apply equally to annuities and drawdown.
After all the upheaval George resisted the temptation to make any more changes just now. There was a possibility of another reduction in the Annual Allowance, and there has been a lot of rumour that higher rate tax relief on pensions could go. This latter has been led by the Centre for Policy Studies – the people behind the 1988 ban!
Nothing happened today, and that can only be good for pensions. Whilst welcoming the budget changes, we now call for stability in pensions legislation and an end to political meddling. Since Gordon Brown’s huge raid in 1997 we have seen pensions become a political football. We now say enough is enough. Hey politicians – leave our pensions alone!