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Last Updated: Sunday, 19 June 2005, 15:10 GMT 16:10 UK
Blunkett hints at forced savings
City workers
Millions of Britons are not saving enough for their old age
People could be forced to save money for their retirement, David Blunkett has suggested, amid continuing concern about a looming UK pension shortfall.

The work and pensions secretary told BBC News merely giving people information was "not enough".

Mr Blunkett said compulsory savings were being considered, but added no decision had yet been made.

The Pensions Commission estimates more than 12 million Britons are not saving adequately for their retirement.

Tony Blair has previously said compulsory savings would raise "real difficulties".

The Pensions Commission is looking at possible changes to the pension system to ensure workers save more.

You can't sustain people for another 10 years beyond what was originally envisaged in the pension proposals that were put together after the World War II, and have a decent living standard, and leave work earlier
Work and Pensions Secretary David Blunkett

Options include raising taxes, raising the retirement age or enforcing compulsory savings.

Mr Blunkett told BBC One's The Politics Show: "We have a responsibility to make sure there is sufficient for people to live on.

"Whilst the evidence is that good information, education, awareness is vital... information is not enough."

The Pensions Commission is due to report its findings in November.

Mr Blunkett said the government would then make a decision within two years.

He has previously indicated a preference for remaining with a voluntary savings system and stressed that individuals still needed to take responsibility for themselves.

"We as government have to take our part which is what we are prepared to do, but individuals have to decide what they want in their retirement, what sort of lifestyle."

'Muddling through'

He said longer lifespans were contributing to making the current system unworkable in the longer term.

"They also want a decent living standard and quite a lot of people would like to retire early.

"You can't sustain people for another 10 years beyond what was originally envisaged in the pension proposals that were put together after the World War II, and have a decent living standard, and leave work earlier."

Pensions Commission head Adair Turner told the National Association of Pension Funds last month what he called the current system of "muddling through" was not an option.




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