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Steve Webb on taking a chance to set people free

March 2, 2015 11:11 AM
In Liberal Democrat Voice
Originally published by East Midlands Liberal Democrats

Steve WebbSteve Webb, pensions minister, is interviewed in the Observer in the run-up to the big pensions change:

Plans to give millions of people powers to get access to their pensions savings from 6 April are a calculated risk, the minister in charge of the biggest pensions shakeup in decades has admitted.

On what is being called "pension freedom day", millions of people will be able to do whatever they want with their pension pot, instead of having to buy an annuity. This liberalisation is being widely hailed as the biggest shakeup of the UK pensions system since the old-age pension was introduced in 1908.

However, amid warnings that people may leave themselves short of money in their old age, the pensions minister, Steve Webb, concedes in an interview with the Observer on Sunday that the plans come with some risk. "We wouldn't be doing it if we thought it was a disaster, but you do take a risk when you trust people with their own money," he says. "Paternalism feels safer, but look where paternalism got us. It got us mandatory annuities and a lot of dissatisfied people. Of course you take a chance when you set people free but, as a liberal, that's why I'm in politics."

You can read the full article here.

* Paul Walter is a Liberal Democrat activist in Newbury and West Berkshire. He is part of the Liberal Democrat Voice team and blogs at Liberal Burblings.