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The great pension debate

You have to feel sorry for the thousands of people in the UK who have reached retirement age in the middle of the slowdown and seen the value of their pension investment pots fall substantially. While the lucky few may be able to use savings to tide them by until markets recover and then take a higher pension, this option is not open to everyone.

We are literally seeing older people retiring on pensions which are 30% down on this time last year, but they have no choice but to purchase an annuity or liquidate investments and take an income. So what help can these suffers expect from the government?

The government has a very patchy record on pensions with the scandal of final salary schemes and the growing number of companies which have gone bust with under funded pension schemes. This means that while an employee may have contributed to a scheme for their full working life with the promise of a pension linked to their salary, many have been left well short and some have lost the lot.

Those who follow pensions closely will know that 10 years ago Gordon Brown decided it was time to take away the tax incentives which pension fund investments and income had enjoyed for decades. Many experts believe that his tax raid on pension funds is at the root of the problem, so do not hold your breath for any help from the authorities - you are on your own!

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