I attended five Remembrance Services across Pendle.
It was great to see big turnouts at all the services as people’s thoughts were with those who gave their lives for the peace and freedom we enjoy today.
There were several other events across Pendle to mark Armistice Day with a two-minute silence honouring those killed in conflict. Sadly I was unable to attend these local events as I was in Westminster, but across Parliament, as across the rest of the country, the silence was observed.
For me that Tuesday was also the first session of the Taxation of Pensions Bill Committee. The Bill will help bring the Government’s radical pension reforms, announced in the last Budget, into effect by removing numerous restrictions on how people access their pension pots.
If the Bill passes, no one will have to buy an annuity if they don’t want to and those who still want the certainty of an annuity, as many will, will be able to shop around for the best deal.
Our session on Tuesday was an evidence session, where the committee interviewed representatives of the regulators, the pensions industry, Citizens Advice and treasury officials. It is clear that the biggest shake-up of the pensions industry in years is still being come to terms with in some quarters, but it is also clear that there is broad support for the Government’s approach. An approach that trusts people, who have worked hard and saved all their lives, rather than forcing them to do something they don’t want to do.
In years to come this will become more relevant than ever, because following this Governments other big pensions reform (auto enrolment) nine out of 10 people are choosing to stay in workplace pensions. Alongside the triple-lock, which has seen the basic state pension rise by £800 per year, these reforms are helping people plan for their retirement.