"Pensions Crisis: A Failure of Public Policymaking

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A new publication "Pensions Crisis: A Failure of Public Policymaking (ISBN 1-902384-10-5) by Austin Mitchell MP and Professor Prem Sikka (University of Essex) argues that the UK government proposals for pension reforms will fail because they pay no attention to the deep inequalities in the distribution of income and wealth. Government statistics show that 50% of all workers have a gross annual wage of less than £23,600 and 70% earn less than £29,000. 50% of people own only 1% of the wealth. These inequalities make it impossible for ordinary people to make provision for their own pensions.

The monograph argues that companies are using the pensions crisis to dump costs on to society and employees. Whilst company executives enjoy gold-plated pensions good occupational pension schemes for employees are being closed or diluted. Through a variety of mis-selling scandals the finance industry has also looted people’s savings. There is an urgent need for tougher regulation and enforcement.

The monograph also debunks some of the myths about pension scheme deficits. It questions the significance of the accounting numbers that are routinely cited in the press.

The present UK state pension is one of the lowest in the western world. In the league of 30 OECD countries Britain is ranked 26th.

In view of the huge inequalities, the only viable policy is to have a generous state pension scheme, which needs to be accompanied by progressive taxation and redistribution of wealth.

The monograph proposes that
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