TUC: don’t shelve radical pension plans for consensus

The search for consensus should not prevent the radical solutions needed to solve the UK’s pensions crisis, the TUC has warned.

The government’s Pensions Commission is due to publish its recommendations on closing the UK’s 57bn pensions ‘black hole’ in the autumn.

The commission’s head, Adair Turner, has promised radical solutions and does not rule out forcing employers to contribute to schemes.

But one in five UK businesses would have to lay off staff if they were forced to pay into pensions for their employees, according to the British Chambers of Com-merce (BCC).

David Frost, BCC director general, said: “Compelling employers to pay into pension schemes would simply increase the cost of employing someone. It is clear that some firms would be forced to reduce the size of their workforce to meet this cost.”

But TUC general secretary, Brendan Barber, said no solution would please everyone. “Every radical idea has important opponents, and if everyone has a veto in the name of consensus, there will be no agreement,” he said.

Instead, Barber said, employers should recognise how difficult it is for politicians to make tough decisions over the timescales that pensions policy requires, when other politicians and a hostile media stand ready to label any increased saving as a stealth tax.

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