Kick ’em while they’re down? This can’t be what you wanted Mr Webb

19th July 2010

No one should envy Mr Webb his job, although I suppose he did go into it with his eyes open.

He faces a number of massive headaches when reforming pensions. One of these is that defined benefit pensions are in seemingly irreversible decline.

Only last month the latest PricewaterhouseCoopers survey showed that 94%  of employers planned to cut or restrict defined benefit pensions.

Therefore Mr Webb has a little of my sympathy as he tries to balance member needs with company sponsors' concerns.

For him, it makes sense to maximise pensions coverage.

If you can preserve even some defined benefit schemes, your job gets easier, even if people who have retired already or are saving in these schemes, are worse off.

They should not be on the poverty line unlike many other pensioners.

However I see many problems with the route he has chosen. First this change is not exactly a golden bullet of a solution.

I wonder if the next PwC survey will show much change in attitude, so all he may be doing is putting off the inevitable and cutting existing pensioners income.

That makes me uncomfortable.

Fundamentally flawed

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