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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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(p.256) 17. Epilogue
Britain's Pensions Crisis

Hugh Pemberton

Pat Thane

Noel Whiteside

British Academy

The pension reforms proposed by Lord Turner's Pensions Commission were certainly radical, although perhaps not as radical as they might have been. How well did the government of Britain rise to the challenge posed by the Pensions Commission? In the months leading up to the white paper, a major battle raged in Whitehall. Although interpreted through the prism of conflict between Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, in fact a very familiar and traditional pattern of British pension policy-making was unfolding, with the Treasury fighting to contain spending commitments on pensions over the long term. It was arguably only the potentially expensive prospect of over 70 per cent of pensioners being able to claim means-tested Pension Credit by the middle of the century that has forced a recalibration of the present system. A few details demonstrate how the Commission's recommendations have been modified to secure this end. The most heavily trailed of the white paper's proposals is the relinking of the basic state pension to average earnings rather than prices.

Keywords:   Pensions Commission, Britain, pension reforms, Tony Blair, Gordon Brown, Treasury, Pension Credit, basic state pension, earnings, pensions

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