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Is Gordon Brown attempting a smash and grab on middle England pensions?

Those in the pensions industry have been briefing the UK financial press regarding a proposed change in UK pension regulations which could have a massive impact on middle England. It is rumoured that Gordon Brown is set to increase the tax take from private pensions, with the middle classes said to be in the firing line. It is forecast the government should be able to raise up to £5 billion a year from increasing taxation on pension assets, pension income and pension charges.

If, as expected by many, this move becomes a reality over the next few days then this would really "set the cat amongst the pigeons". Gordon Brown has already carried out a similar smash and grab on UK pension assets during his early days in the Treasury and is widely regarded by many as the reason why the UK pension industry is currently in disarray. While the taxation of the pension arrangements of the middle classes would curry favour with more traditional Labour voters, it is highly unlikely to be a vote winner overall.

In some ways it is perverse that the UK government has been encouraging everybody to take out private pensions, only to see them built up and then increase the tax take.

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