Clause 1

Part of Pensions Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 10:30 am on 22nd January 2008.

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Photo of Danny Alexander Danny Alexander Liberal Democrat, Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey 10:30 am, 22nd January 2008

Thank you very much, Sir Nicholas. It is a pleasure for me to welcome you back to the Chair and to echo the comments made about the great value of our evidence-taking sessions, particularly on the some of the matters we will consider later on. I recognise that this is a probing amendment, but it does seem to be probing an area that is of some interest and importance, given some of the issues raised in the evidence-taking session on Thursday, relating to the way in which personal accounts will or will not work for people who start saving later in life.

The hon. Gentleman made an important point about the reason why the cut-off age of 75 has been selected. He cited some examples of Parliamentarians and others, and there are clearly more and more people now—given the quite correct and natural exhortations from the Government and all parties in the House—who want to work longer for their own good and the good of society. Though some aspects of the law such as those related to annuitisation do involve an upper limit around the age of 75, it does seem that, in circumstances where people over 75 are encouraged to continue working if they wish to—and many people of that age do wish to continue working—there should be within this Bill at least an understanding of the options for those people to continue to put money aside for their retirement. While many of us think that when we reach the age of 75, we shall want to retire, many other people—especially given that life expectancy now is in the mid-80s and may in the next few years reach the 90s—will have a number of potential years of retirement ahead of them and will want to save for them. That is the context of the question the hon. Gentleman is asking, and I look forward to the Minister’s reply.