Retirement Income Reform Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 10:04 am on 7th March 2003.

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Photo of Andrew Dismore Andrew Dismore Labour, Hendon 10:04 am, 7th March 2003

My hon. Friend makes a telling point, which leads me to the matter of confidence. Although there may not be a pensions crisis per se, I accept the argument put to us by a number of people in the Select Committee hearings that there is a crisis of confidence in the private pensions sector. That is a different issue altogether. The evidence shows overwhelmingly that the fundamentals of pensions in Britain are sound. Compared to Europe and the rest of the western world, we have a well funded pensions industry that is sufficiently robust to cope with most of the trials and tribulations that bash it from time to time. We are in a much stronger position than anywhere else in Europe.

When the hon. and learned Gentleman goes on about the £5 billion pensions tax, he misses the point. My hon. Friend Mr. Bryant mentioned mis-selling. That is one of the problems at the root of the crisis of confidence. Equitable Life sold pension policies that were attractive at the time. Indeed, I bought its policies—