Weir calls on government to restore pension faith

Mike Weir with WASPI campaigner Veronica
Mike Weir with WASPI campaigner Veronica

Angus MP Mike Weir has called on the UK Government to restore faith in pensions before young people turn their backs on saving for retirement.

Mr Weir spoke out after MPs debated the fall-out from the Equitable Life scandal which saw 353,000 savers come close to losing their life-savings in 2000.

Some 17 years on, those affected by the near-collapse of the private savings firm are still fighting for adequate compensation caused by the failure of government regulation

And with Women Against State Pension Inequality (WASPI) still campaigning against the increases in pension age without adequate notice, and with a government report this week saying the retirement age may rise to 70 Mr Weir fears there is little incentive for young people to plan for their post-work life.

He said: “There are two separate issues with pensions that the UK Government has to tackle. One is the scandal that is Equitable Life and we are still looking for a satisfactory conclusion on that.

“The other is the campaign highlighted by WASPI over state pensions.

“Both of these are severely damaging public confidence in the pension system and, if not resolved, could turn young people in their 20s or 30s away from saving altogether.

“I have constituents in Angus who have saved all their lives believing they would have a pretty decent standard of living in retirement only to find out they are getting 25% of what they expected.

“I have also met with WASPI campaigners and fully understand their concerns over the changes to the retirement age.

“The state pension age is going up but at the same time confidence in private pensions has been undermined by the Equitable Life scandal.

“If we don’t take steps to resolve both of these issues and re-establish trust in pensions then why will young people bother saving for what happens in 30 or 40 years time?

“They will think: ‘What is the point? Look what has happened to other people like my granny.’

“The UK Government has to look at the bigger picture and work out how we can restore that confidence and ensure that young people do see the value in saving for their retirement.”