Age Old Problem

Pensions bore me. I haven’t one myself and, when wiser people tell me I’m a fool, I just nod and ask to talk about something more interesting. Like Narberth.
But this week I’ve been writing about new pension plans – called SIPPs for short – in The Big Issue Cymru (to be posted at the weekend).
SIPPs, new from Gordon Brown, allow savers to invest personal pensions in whatever asset they wish, including property.
And if you are rich enough to put £200,000 a year into the plan, you can enjoy a 40 per cent tax break to buy a second home.
But they will not tackle the pensions crisis and will distort the housing market, pitching big city investors against first time buyers. Both the Tories and Plaid have spoken against them.
And today I’m pleased to report the following from the National Assembly:

The Welsh Assembly today voted to block Chancellor Gordon Brown’s Self Invested Personal Pension Schemes (SIPPs), which give higher earners a tax break for investing in second homes.
In the Assembly debate on affordable homes today, Plaid Cymru’s Shadow Social Justice Minister Leanne Wood AM put forward an amendment asking the Labour Assembly Government to make representations to the Treasury to exclude Wales from a plan that would give wealthy individuals a tax break on homes purchased as part of their pension.
“That policy means local people cannot afford to live in their own communities and local schools and shops are forced to close,” said Ms Wood. “Plaid Cymru has consistently opposed Tory and Labour right wing housing policies of which SIPPs is just another example.”
The Plaid amendment is as follows: “Calls on the Welsh Assembly Government to make representations to the UK government for properties in Wales to be excluded from SIPPs.”
“Deplores New Labour’s support for the new pension funds, Self-Invested Personal Pensions (SIPPs) which will enable the wealthy to own and profit from second homes ownership in Wales while many people in Wales are living in unfit accommodation or spending an increasing amount of their income on housing.”
(source: Plaid press release)

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