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Darling commits to action on economy

Alistair Darling has pledged to take action to address weaknesses in the financial system.

In an interview this morning with the BBC the chancellor said he would take action to promote long-term economic stability but has refused to elaborate on the specifics of his plan.

During the chat on Breakfast this morning, which was screened live from the Labour conference in Manchester, he refused to comment directly as to whether the changes would include an increase in income tax but hinted that money would have to be returned to the coffers at some point.

He says: “It is not the time to take money out of the economy.

“If you borrower money you have to get the balance between taxing and spending right but you do it over a period and support the economy over the period.”

Darling also encouraged banks to behave responsibly in the current crisis and said that the government must “toughen up” the economic system.

This strengthening will likely include measures to address City bonuses but Darling says this is only one area the Financial Services Authority is looking at.

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England vs Australia: pensions

Well, the cricket season is here, and England and Australia are stepping up to the wicket. Although we compete with each other in the sporting world, when it comes to pensions, Australia’s pension programme is held up as a model for our auto-enrolment initiative. Auto-enrolment was introduced because people weren’t saving enough into their pensions, and it is still early days but signs are positive. However, in Australia, saving into a pension is compulsory, and in fact employers are the ones who have to pay in. Employees in Australia can make additional contributions into their pensions, but they don’t have to. Should the onus be on the employer or employee to save? Well in the UK we think it’s both, but to get ‘adequate’ savings for retirement it’s the employee who has to pay more in.

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