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Britain's Pensions CrisisHistory and Policy$
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Hugh Pemberton, Pat Thane, and Noel Whiteside

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780197263853

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197263853.001.0001

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Paying for Our Futures: The Political Economy of Pension Reform in the UK

Paying for Our Futures: The Political Economy of Pension Reform in the UK

(p.169) 11. Paying for Our Futures: The Political Economy of Pension Reform in the UK
Britain's Pensions Crisis

Paul Johnson

British Academy

The development of pension provision in Britain since January 1909, when the first public old-age pension was paid, should be celebrated as one of the greatest achievements of collective action in the twentieth century. This chapter examines what has and has not changed in terms of demographic and economic knowledge of pension systems. It then considers the causes and consequences of this delusional consensus and offers some suggestions about how a more responsible set of political and popular attitudes to pensions might be created, beginning with a fundamental reform to the state pension system. The rationale advanced by the Pensions Commission for maintaining much of the complexity of the current state system is the cost and disruption that would be entailed by radical change. This chapter discusses the political economy of pension reform in Britain, focusing on the link between demography and pensions as well as between pensions and economics.

Keywords:   Britain, pensions, political economy, pension reform, demography, economics, Pensions Commission

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