» Friday, May 12, 2006


Asked what the Prime Minister had said about pensions, the PMOS replied that what reflected the Prime Minister’s view was that we needed to take a step back and recognise that deciding the future of pensions was one of the biggest decisions and issues that the Government could face. With the help of Lord Turner, however, we did now have a basis for moving forward within Government. The basis was that the Prime Minister believed this would form the core of the consensus in the country as a whole about the way to move forward on pensions. The final details were being worked out, but we would see again the link with earnings within the broad timescale as outlined by Lord Turner. The PMOS said that he was not going to get into further details, as the final details were still being arranged, but there was a broad agreement within Government, and it was a significant achievement by any standard.

Asked if they could be affordable, and had they been watered down, the PMOS replied: no. Whenever Lord Tuner’s report came out, the Prime Minister made clear almost immediately that we welcomed the broad outlines of what Lord Turner had said, and we would look at the details. One of the issues that had been examined was that it was affordable, and we were not going to do anything that was not affordable. Whenever people saw the final package, they would see that it did address the issues of concern that Lord Turner’s report was primarily designed to do, and it was affordable for the country as a whole.

Asked if we could rule out any tax rises to pay for it in the future, the PMOS said that the journalist was "long enough in the tooth" to know that if the PMOS was to comment on tax questions, he would not be around much longer! The PMOS said that he did not "do" tax, as it was for other people, mainly the Chancellor.

Briefing took place at 12:00 | Search for related news

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