Oh dear. For a moment I quite liked this year’s budget (though not, obviously, enough to vote Conservative at the next election).
And then it suddenly deteriorated into a surreal spat about who can be most patronizing about the electorate (who, as you will recall, dear reader, are the people whose votes the same politicians depend on for getting their hands on the economy in the first place).
It’s nothing to me – I cashed in my AVCs and bought an annuity last year. Rats. This was mainly because the company that held my pension savings had moved from being ethical, mutual and reputable to being unethical, non-mutual and distinctly dodgy. The only realistic option was to take the money out sharpish and buy an annuity from another provider. And, yes, it would have been nice to have the choice of taking it out altogether and sticking it in an ISA or a savings account or behind the clock on the mantel piece …
Unfortunately, it looks as if optional annuities will go the same way as optional school hats – nobody will want one and the bottom will fall out of the market.
Sure enough, one of the first headlines to catch my eye this morning was that my carefully selected new pension provider (the one I’m tied to until I pop my clogs) has gone into free fall, potentially leaving its customers to the tender mercies of the FSA. As the great economist Bob Hope once observed – “Money talks, but all mine ever says is ‘goodbye'”
Despite feeling personally aggrieved, I still think the decision to drop compulsory annuities is a good one and that, in the long-term, there’ll be more winners than losers. Ed Balls is wrong. People should be trusted with their own money. After all, they might just spend it on their children’s (or grand-children’s) education or improving their homes or joining a gym – and isn’t that better for everyone than cash-guzzling vanity projects or useless foreign wars?
Anyway – must go – just time to feed th’whippet and stick th’kettle on th’ob before bingo. Clickety click 🙂