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EDITIONS
 Monday, 20 January, 2003, 11:03 GMT
MPs say pensions should be compulsory
A female factory worker
Should workers be forced to pay into a pension?
Workers and employers in the UK would be forced to contribute to a pension if MPs had their way.

A survey of 81 backbench MPs, from the three main political parties, found the majority were in favour of compulsory pensions.

The Government needs to realise that the earlier compulsion is introduced, fewer people will retire in poverty

Steve Webb MP, Liberal Democrat shadow work and pensions secretary
The finding will be a blow to the government which ruled out compulsion, for the time being, in its recent pension Green Paper.

Nearly 8 out of 10 MPs surveyed said that the government should force employers to contribute to staff pensions.

A similar number agreed that employees should also be compelled to save into their workplace pension scheme.

Scheme closures

Many employers have cut contributions to pension schemes and some have been closed by firms trying to reduce costs.

In recent years, nearly half of the UK's final salary schemes - widely seen as the best type of pension for employees - have been closed to new entrants.

In December the government released its Green Paper on the UK pension crisis.

The paper outlined plans for a raised retirement age for public sector workers from 2006 and a more flexible one for private sector employees.

Labour opposed

Labour MPs surveyed were most opposed to the idea of a raising of the retirement age with 55% against and just 29% in favour. Conservatives were evenly split and Liberal Democrats just in favour of the move.

However, only 28% of MPs surveyed said that they would vote for a tax increase to pay for an improved state pension.

Steve Webb MP, Liberal Democrat shadow work and pensions secretary, told BBC News Online:

"These latest figures show that the government is losing the argument against compulsory pension saving. The momentum behind the introduction of the compulsory pension is unstoppable.

"The government needs to realise that the earlier compulsion is introduced, fewer people will retire in poverty."


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17 Dec 02 | Business
17 Dec 02 | Business
17 Dec 02 | Business
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