Sir George supports Annuity Reform
7 Mar 2003
Sir George was in the House to support his colleague Edward Garnier's Bill to reform annuities.

"Pension issues are high on the list of issues that my constituents contact me about and Edward's Bill amends the law relating to the purchase of annuities in respect of private and personal pensions."
"At the moment my constituents have to buy an annuity when they reach 75 with the pension pot that has been saved up over the contributory years, subject to a 25% tax-free lump sum. On their death the capital sum, rather than going into the estate for distribution under the will, is returned to the annuity provider. The Retirement Income Reform Bill addresses this problem.
In order to discourage pensioners from spending all the fund and then becoming dependent on the state the Bill provides for a minimum retirement income annuity to give pensioners a guaranteed income for life above the level of state income support. The income for this will come from a retirement income fund.

"Edward has tried to design a Bill whose principles are simple to understand. It has the support not only of the Conservative Treasury and Work & Pensions front bench teams but also that of former Labour pensions minister Frank Field and the Liberal Democrat pensions spokesman, Steve Webb. Whilst it does not cure all the problems faced by pensioners it goes some way to offering practical assistance."

The Bill is intended to:

Meet the Government's demands that any pension reform ensures a guaranteed income for life which protects the state from exposure to future income support claims;
Give pensioners the chance to reinvest pension savings - having bought the MRI annuity - and thus extract maximum efficiency out of their pension savings, maximize their potential retirement income, provide them with flexibility and choice, and keep them off benefits.

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