Pension Reform

Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Work and Pensions – in the House of Commons at 2:30 pm on 31st October 2005.

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Photo of Malcolm Rifkind Malcolm Rifkind Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions 2:30 pm, 31st October 2005

The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions was speaking yesterday of the benefit of hindsight. With the benefit of hindsight, does he agree that the Prime Minister made a very foolish mistake in asking the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, and not the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, to negotiate the question of pension reform with the public sector unions? Does he agree that that is an example of the crumbling confidence that the Prime Minister appears to have in his efforts? Will he endorse the outcome of the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry's discussions, which have ensured that for millions of people in the public sector it will be 40 years before their 60-year retirement age ends, while people in the private sector are being told that they may have to work for years longer than 65? Will those discussions help him to achieve consensus on pension reform?