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Retirement policies would persuade HR and pensions professionals to vote Tory

HR and pensions professionals would elect a Conservative government in the next election, based on retirement policies alone.

According to a mock election poll taking into account only retirement policies in the three major parties' manifesto promises, 54% of delegates would elect a Conservative government, 29% would vote Liberal Democrat and 17% would vote Labour at the general election in May next year.

The poll at the National Association of Pension Funds (NAPF) Annual Conference last week asked respondents not to vote for a party, but select one piece of retirement legislation they would like to see.

Labour policies include the introduction of Personal Accounts in 2012, new tax on employer pension contributions to be paid to individual employees earning £150,000 per year or more, a cap on the pensions paid to high-earning local government employees and a review of default retirement age with a view to no compulsory retirement unless employers can justify it.

Liberal Democrat policies include allowing employees early access to a tax-free lump sum of their pension, the introduction of a citizens' pension based on residency, not contributions, and the abolition of all higher tax relief on pension contributions.

While Tory policies include the abolition of compulsory annuitisation at age 75 and the acceleration of an increase in the state pension age to start in 2016.

Delegates were asked what other changes they would like to see in retirement policy and the most popular suggestions were less bureaucracy for employers, more financial education, better state pensions and increasing minimum employer contributions in Personal Accounts to more than 3%.