And so the run-up period to the General Election 2017 is upon us. Yes, that snap General Election which a certain Prime Minister publically declared that she would not call because the UK needs some stability. Instead, Theresa May now believes that this General Election is needed to smooth over the divisions currently inherent within Westminster, which she says risk hampering Brexit negotiations.
As you would expect, social media, tabloids and broadsheets across the UK are now plastered with General Election 2017 headlines, with headshots of May and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn popping up on all pages. Some better than others, might I add!
As both parties begin to intensify their campaigning, pictures of them battling it out for that all-important focus of eventually residing in 10 Downing Street will only increase – not that there appears to be much of a battle on May’s hands at the moment if one looks at the polling figures.
Whatever your political allegiance however, one key word throws itself out of the campaigning pile for all parties. One word which is extremely important to us all – yes, you guessed – pensions. I believe that this word will prove to have a profound impact in the popularity contest occurring within the General Election 2017.
Recent research published by Old Mutual Wealth found that over a third of over-55s in Britain are less likely to vote Conservative if the triple lock is at risk.
Of 1,000 voters over the age of 55, Old Mutual Wealth found that the threat to the state pension triple lock would change the voting habits of 34.2 per cent of the group, making them less likely to vote for the Tory party.
In opposition to this, the party’s Labour counterparts have claimed that they will keep the pensions triple lock until 2025.
Other key areas in the pensions space include pensions tax relief, state pension age increases, auto-enrolment, defined benefit pension responsibilities as well as other peripheral issues such as pensioner benefits.
Broadstone technical director David Brooks noted that with the ‘pensions revolution’ that has happened over the past five years, the political parties need to “set out their stall for the direction of these projects for the next four to five years”.
“How the parties address these pensions issues will have a major impact on all our lives and may well sway voters who are directly impacted by the outcome,” he said.
A new set of economic concerns may rise in voters’ minds. For example, pensioners on fixed incomes are particularly affected by the ongoing uptick in inflation we’ve seen since the decision to leave the EU. Some older voters may start asking questions about each of the parties’ plans to ensure inflation doesn’t surge much beyond current levels.
When you turn up to that polling station on 8 June 2017, whichever way you are politically aligned, I think that we can all take something from the fact that pensions now form an integral part of any political party’s manifesto, as ‘the pension’ is crucial for anyone’s retirement. Papers now carry front page news on pensions, and some may even argue that depending on a party’s attitude to pensions, it may sway that voter from one party to another! Interesting times lie ahead and how nice to be working in an industry which is becoming more and more influential.