retirement work and pensions secretary Andrew Smith said today.
Speaking at the TUC Pensions Conference in London Mr Smith said:
'Many people resent the sheer cliff edge between work and retirement
- that on Friday they are deemed to be valuable members of the
workforce but the following Monday they are shuffled off into
'We need to give people real opportunities and incentives to enable
people to stay in the work place for longer - where they want to. As
well as getting rid of the perverse incentives to retire even when it
might suit people to carry on working, perhaps part time, for
Mr Smith said that the overall pensions framework is the right one
and the government will continue to build on the changes already
'We are going through a period of change. It's important that we
understand the reasons behind that change, build on what works with
reforms designed for the long-term needs of us all.
'We have to take a hard-headed look at the options in this area. We
need reforms which have the confidence of business as well as trade
unions. 'Changes have to be worthwhile for employees to save,
confident in what they will get in return, and easy for employers to
contribute. We need a framework that builds partnership in pension
provision not a mutual aversion to responsibility.'
He added: 'I applaud partnership between trade unions and business. I
have seen what can be achieved when we have worked together on the
New Deal. If there was ever an area where we needed to build and
strengthen partnership for the country's future, it is on these
crucial questions of ensuring security in retirement for all.'
Mr Smith said: 'Reform should be based on the principles of
- enabling people to make better informed choices in saving for their
- ensuring better information to help people make more meaningful
- providing a range of simpler products
- cutting red tape
- encouraging partnership
- removing perverse incentives by aligning pensions policy with the
employment and active ageing agenda.'
Pensions minister Ian McCartney also stressed to the conference the
importance of partnership when he said: 'The best policies are those
which are based on consensus. I firmly believe the TUC has a great
role to play in helping to shape the future pensions agenda and in
encouraging both employers and employees to invest for that future.
'Our strategy is simple - we want to ensure that all pensioners will
have a decent income in retirement, therefore we have taken action to
help all pensioners while giving priority to the poorest and the
least well off.
'I am personally committed to ensuring that we have a system in place
that adequately protects individuals, that it is transparent, that
has the appropriate level of regulation and incentives to encourage
both employers and employees to contribute to some kind of pension
Press office 0207 238 0866
Out of hours 07659 108883
Public enquiries 020 7712 2171