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LABOUR has called for an immediate ban on pension cold calling amid warnings that "opportunistic financial scammers" are targeting members of the schemes at British Steel and Carillion.

Work and Pensions Secretary Esther McVey told MPs a ban was the Government's intention, with work under way on how it will be delivered.

However, Labour's Debbie Abrahams urged ministers to introduce an immediate ban through the Financial Guidance and Claims Bill.

The shadow work and pensions secretary also suggested measures that would mean people had to opt out of taking guidance before getting access to their pension pot.

"Default guidance will promote shopping around, better informed decision making and protection against scams," she said.

"Combined with a ban on cold calling, it would represent a step forward in consumer protection in an era of pensions freedoms.

"So will the minister agree new provisions at committee stage to put in place an immediate ban, an immediate ban on cold calling, and introduce default guidance to assist people accessing or seeking to transfer their pensions assets, with strong penalties for advisers who wilfully and detrimentally scam pensions members."

Speaking at the Bill's second reading, Ms Abrahams said adverts appeared online urging people to cash in their pension pots within 24 hours of Carillion's collapse.

"Given the increasing issues pensions schemes members are facing, including British Steel and now Carillion, in addition to a much tougher pensions regulation framework, I want the Government to tackle the appalling abuse of opportunistic financial scammers, who have been targeting BSPS (British Steel Pensions Scheme) and Carillion pensions members," she said.

The Bill enables the creation of a scheme that would provide a "breathing space" for people struggling with serious debts.

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Publication:Daily Post (Conwy, Wales)
Date:Jan 23, 2018
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