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Government Will Seek To Cement Cross Party Consensus On Pensions

14 June 2006

James Purnell, the Minister for Pensions Reform, says that further work is needed to ensure that cross party consensus on pensions reform is reached.

Speaking at the Industry Forum yesterday, James Purnell noted high levels of agreement on addressing the pensions challenge by both political parties and stakeholders, but warned that the Government should not "kid itself" that the job is done.

James Purnell said: "We are serious about developing a consensus with the Opposition parties. This is a policy with a fifty year horizon. People need stability when making long-term savings decisions. They will feel more confident if they know that they are investing on the basis of a policy agenda that is shared between political parties.

"We were encouraged by the initial consensus that greeted the White Paper. We want to deepen that consensus by engaging with Opposition Parties. We will make civil servants available to them to brief them on the policy. We will be happy to meet with them to discuss specific issues they have around the White Paper. And we will aim to have a parliamentary process that symbolises the emerging consensus on pensions.

"Pensions are too important to be the subject of political point scoring. The public expect us to create a stable framework within which they can invest. The Government will be tireless in seeking to develop that consensus."

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