Pension body warns Government: 'Get pension reforms right - and get on with it'


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The Government that comes to power in May next year must work with HR and pension professionals to secure the retirement of staff, instead of playing "Punch and Judy pension politics", according to the chief executive of the National Association of Pension Funds (NAPF).

Speaking to delegates at the NAPF Annual Conference, Joanne Segars, chief executive of the industry body, attacked the myriad announcements about pensions and retirement made at the three major political party conferences over the past month.

Following announcements from secretary of state for communities and local government John Denham that the Labour Party would cap the pensions of high-earning local government staff, and shadow chancellor, George Osborne, said that the Conservative Party would raise retirement age for men from 65 to 66 in 2016, Segars said: "The Government has to mend a broken pension system - so get the reforms right and get on with it!"

She added: "Personal accounts and auto-enrolment coming into action in 2012 are real steps forward... but we cannot say ‘job done' in 2012."

In a message directly aimed at secretary of state for work and pensions Yvette Cooper and the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), Segars said: "The Government must see the pension professionals in this room as a solution to help, not an obstacle. So give a little [to us], DWP, and you will get a lot back."

She added: "Workplace pensions must be secure, flexible, simple, incentivise staff and be cost- effective... and the Government has an obligation to ensure it pays to save.

"There are difficult questions still to be answered around pensions, but as the political temperature goes up as we approach a general election, the NAPF will continue to press [the Government] for answers and put forward solutions."


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Helen Giles is executive director of HR for homelessness charity St Mungo’s Broadway and managing director of Real People, a social enterprise HR consultancy. She has been on the HR Most Influential list since is started and is voted on one of the HR Most Influential Practitioners of the Decade. Giles was awarded an MBE in 2008 for her services to homeless people.

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