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Brown defends his pension decision as ‘the right one’

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Chancellor Gordon Brown has stepped up the pressure in the pensions debate by reiterating that his decision to change the tax rules 10 years was the right one for the national economy.

Brown said that the change had raised £5bn a year for the UK economy and represented a vital part of the national saving and investment programme over the term of the Labour Government. He was speaking at a Scottish campaign event, where his decision was also backed by Prime Minister Tony Blair.

But the Conservatives rejected his claims and said that he took the decision despite advice that it would cause a £75bn ‘hole’ in pensions.

It was also seen as a key contributory factor in the rapid decline of final salary pensions, along with the dotcom crash, firms taking pension holidays and increased life expectancy leading to pension funds having to sustain more pensioners for longer periods.

Liberal Democrat leader Sir Menzies Campbell said that he hoped Brown would “take responsibility” for putting “right” the crisis in pensions which has developed over the past decade and that pensioners would not be placed in difficult situations by the framework adopted to accommodate the pension system.

People still had the right to compare pensions and to enjoy a retirement free from financial anxieties after a lifetime of making contributions.


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