17 days to go: Blair's threat to the state pension

Millions of elderly people and present day workers could face losing all or part of their old age pension if Tony Blair wins a third term in power, senior Conservatives have warned.

Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary David Willetts believes that Labour’s plan to switch from the traditional state pension to a so-called “citizen’s pension” could pave the way for further means-testing – which could deprive many people of a full state pension on retirement, even though they have paid National Insurance contributions all their working lives.
“We are beginning to discover what their secret plans are – the ones they are trying to keep from us. It’s perfectly clear that if they move to the adoption of a citizen’s pension, the only way to finance it would be to means-test it,” Mr Willetts said.
He explained: “We have already warned that Labour planned to move to a citizen’s pension. This would be just another benefit, not something people had earned by the contributions they’d made. It would be very expensive – provided everyone got it. Mr Blair says it would cost ‘billions of pounds’. The experts agree that Labour would need higher taxes to pay for the spending plans they already have. So they can’t afford to be making more spending commitments. “But there is a way they could make it cheaper. They could means-test it.”
And he warned: “Once the link with contributions has gone, no one will have a pension as of right.”
Conservatives have challenged the Prime Minister to come clean on his pension policy plans and make clear whether he might reduce state pensions for people with company pensions, private pensions or money in the bank. In response Mr Blair has said: “Well, all of these things need to be looked at in the context of overall pension provision.”
But significantly, he refused even to say it would a bad thing, let alone to rule it out.
Mr Willetts declared: “Mr Blair would have been briefed about our challenge, so he wasn’t caught out by a question he didn’t know the answer to. This wasn’t the answer of someone who doesn’t know what his party’s plans are. This was the answer of someone who knows full well what his party’s plans are.”

 story from: www.conservatives.com