Written by Stephen Fallowell, Committee member, for Pensions Age (September edition)
The idea of ‘Personal Freedom’ has a long history and continues to engage Philosophers, Politicians and me and you. The present imposition by Government of social distancing and wearing face masks can be considered an attack on our ‘Personal Freedom’ though I, like the majority of people, accept this imposition as the state seeking to secure my wellbeing. This acceptance is deemed a ‘social contract’ between the individual and the state originally set out by Jean-Jacques Rousseau in the 18th Century.
Since then the conditions of this contract have changed depending on the ideology of the ruling party; usually defined in crude terms as ‘State intervention’ verses ‘personal liberties.’
The Work and Pensions Select Committee has started consultation on Pension Freedoms unleashed following the 2016 Pension act, with the first part concentrating on ‘Pension Scams’
The original act, though full of good intentions, was also driven by the political ideology of placing freedom back in the hands of the individual. Unfortunately that freedom also included the right of the individual to make a complete hash of their financial future.
So we seek to redress the balance my providing some form of state intervention to protect the individual.
The tension between these two ideologies will continue in many forms but legislators of all persuasions need to understand that if you place a person on a tightrope they often need a safety net.