The idea behind pensions is simple – save now to spend later. However, it is clear that many people find pensions complicated. Too many find it difficult to save what they need for retirement.

This is reflected in the fact that just one third of all employees in the private sector have a supplementary pension; this means the remainder are not currently saving for their retirement, or our ‘‘golden‘‘ years.

Before saying any more, I want to emphasise that it is my view, and that of the Government, that the State pension is, and will remain, the bedrock of the pension system and will continue to protect our older people against poverty. This is evident in our intention to maintain the State pension at 34pc of average wages over the long term.

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