Debating Pensions
Self-interest, Citizenship & the Common Good

By Frank Field, et al.
December 2002
CIVITAS
ISBN: 1-903-386-24-1
135 pages, Illustrated, 5 " x 8 "
$17.95 Paper Original


Until recently, pensions policy was a topic guaranteed to send most people to sleep. But falling stock markets, adverse tax changes, lower interest rates, changing expectations about inflation, falling birthrates and increased life expectancy have all helped to put it at the top of the policy agenda. Frank Field, a welfare reform expert and one of this country's most fertile thinkers, proposes a universal protected pension (UPP).

Those in work would be compelled to contribute towards a new pension scheme, in return for which they would be guaranteed an income in retirement which would lift them clear of means-tested benefits. The UPP would have a redistributive element, because benefits would be paid at a flat rate, but contributions would be related to earnings.

Furthermore, those caring for a child under five or for a sick or disabled person would be treated as if they were in paid employment. As an aid to public debate, Frank Field's proposal is attacked by David Willetts and Philip Booth for its redistributive element, and by Kirk Mann for departing from the idea of collective responsibilities. Stephen Driver argues that the government's pension policy strikes a balance between targeting the poor and planning for the future. Frank Field has the last word in a cogent rejoinder.

Economics

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