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  • FIRST POST
    • MSE Luke
    • By MSE Luke 10th Jul 17, 11:01 AM
    • 233Posts
    • 54Thanks
    MSE Luke
    MSE Guest Comment: WASPI campaign responds to Pensions Minister's advice to take...
    • #1
    • 10th Jul 17, 11:01 AM
    MSE Guest Comment: WASPI campaign responds to Pensions Minister's advice to take... 10th Jul 17 at 11:01 AM
    Jane Cowley, a WASPI director, reacts to the Pensions Minister's suggestion that WASPI women become apprentices...
    Read the full story:
    'Guest Comment: WASPI campaign responds to Pensions Minister's advice to take up apprenticeships'

    Click reply below to discuss. If you haven’t already, join the forum to reply.
Page 1
    • OldBeanz
    • By OldBeanz 10th Jul 17, 11:16 AM
    • 671 Posts
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    OldBeanz
    • #2
    • 10th Jul 17, 11:16 AM
    • #2
    • 10th Jul 17, 11:16 AM
    I am 62 and off to College in September for the first time since 1974 to undertake a TEFL course perhaps more positive then sitting on my backside dripping life is unfair when it isn't in this case.
    • Mortgagefreeman
    • By Mortgagefreeman 10th Jul 17, 11:44 AM
    • 406 Posts
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    Mortgagefreeman
    • #3
    • 10th Jul 17, 11:44 AM
    • #3
    • 10th Jul 17, 11:44 AM
    Jane Cowley should have gone to specsavers.
    Remoaners. Embrace your inner Brexit and become a 're-leaver'
  • jamesd
    • #4
    • 10th Jul 17, 1:30 PM
    • #4
    • 10th Jul 17, 1:30 PM
    Jane Cowley should have taken the trouble to read what was actually said in Hansard instead of making WASPI look foolish: State Pension Age for Women on 5 July 2017.

    Apprenticeships were part of measures to help those aged 45 and up back into work, not specifically for women a few years from their state pension age:

    "Guy Opperman

    No, I will not. It is not the Government’s position that we will make further concessions by the 1995 or 2011 Acts. The fundamental point—at this point I really wish to address the hon. Member for Paisley and Renfrewshire South—is that the Government have done a massive amount on a progressive basis to get people back into employment or retraining in their pre-pension years.

    First, we created, and we have now extended, a network of older claimant champions in all 34 Jobcentre Plus districts in the country. The champions work with Jobcentre work coaches to provide advice and best practice on skills provision, digital and social support and job-search support, which leads into the “Fuller Working Lives” strategy issued by the Government on a cross-Government basis in February this year.

    Secondly, we have committed massively to lifelong learning. The reality is that more than 200,000 people aged over 60 have entered further education since 2014-15. [Interruption.]

    Sir Edward Leigh (in the Chair)

    Order. Everybody else was heard in silence, so let us please listen to the Minister.

    Guy Opperman

    Thirdly, we have also extended apprenticeship opportunities—one of the best routes into skilled employment—for people of all ages and gender. For example, in England in 2014 to 2015, 12% of those starting apprenticeships were aged over 45.

    Carolyn Harris

    Will the Minister give way?

    Guy Opperman

    I am going to set out these matters; please bear with me. In the 2017 Budget, the Chancellor allocated £5 million to increase the number of returnship schemes. We are working with employers across the public and private sectors to understand how returners can be supported back into permanent employment, building on successful examples run by companies such as Centrica.

    I realise it is not going down well, but the point I am trying to make is that the Government are actually doing a significant amount to address the individual difficulties for those persons attempting to enter the labour market. Last year, the Government appointed Andy Briggs, CEO of Aviva, as the dedicated business champion for older workers, to spearhead work with employers on a business-to-business basis. I met Mr Briggs ​two days ago. He is clearly passionate about his mission to persuade employers to increase the number of older workers they employ by 12% by 2022
    ."

    It was actually the Labour MP Graham Jones who may have mis-heard what was said in the background noise who asked whether it was about women close to state pension age:

    "Graham Jones

    On a point of order, Sir Edward. Did the Minister just say that women aged 64 could go on an apprenticeship course? I could not hear because of the noise. Perhaps he could clarify that
    "

    MSE should be telling people about the practical help that was offered to women in financial need instead of helping her to spread that sort of thing. Unless MSE itself wants to favour WASPIs advocacy of rank gender discrimination - twins having a six year difference in state pension initial benefits and eight years in total because the male twins on average die two years younger than the female - at the expense of declining to tell people in real financial need about the offer by The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (Guy Opperman) to help those in financial difficulty:

    1. "If individual Members of Parliament have specific cases where they feel their individual constituents are affected by state pension age changes and find themselves in financial hardship, whether they are people who have to reduce their hours because of sickness, disability or caring responsibility, I and the London DWP team will look into those individual cases. As Members pass them on to us, we will do what we can to provide assistance, whether that is understanding of the availability of carer’s allowance, housing benefit, tax credits, income support, employment and support allowance or other benefits."

    2. "I accept that we must do all we can to assist everyone affected into retraining and employment, and to provide support if that is not possible. The commitment to provide support is clear, unequivocal and ongoing."

    If anyone is in financial hardship I suggest that they consider contacting their MP to accept the offer of assistance from Guy Opperman and the DWP team.

    Now, I'm no journalist with ethical standards and journalistic integrity to protect but I managed to read Hansard, see what was said and tell Martin on Twitter the day before this piece about the offer of help last week. Perhaps expecting good journalistic coverage of important topics is asking a lot these days but it'd be nice if MSE appeared to be doing a better job of trying than was done on this occasion.

    To be clear, even if we accept that this was an opinion piece, the title falsely asserted that it was the minister: "Guest Comment: WASPI campaign responds to Pensions Minister's advice to take up apprenticeships" (my bold) and I assume that the title - and obligation to verify that it was factually correct - was the work of an MSE employee.

    Not telling people about offers of practical help seems to be missing a key part of the mission of this place.

    A large number of people being referred by their MPs might also have the useful effect of helping Guy Opperman see areas where he does think that change would be right, since there are undoubtedly many women who are in financial need whose practical and verifiable situations might be more persuasive than WASPI's campaign for a huge amount of money regardless of financial need has been.

    If MSE wants something more worthwhile to campaign about, I hope we can agree that being dead two years sooner is a worse outcome than being on working age benefits and maybe MSE might want to try to do something to stop about half of the state pensioner population of this country on average suffering that fate?
    Last edited by jamesd; 10-07-2017 at 2:25 PM.
    • Paul_Herring
    • By Paul_Herring 10th Jul 17, 1:46 PM
    • 6,155 Posts
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    Paul_Herring
    • #5
    • 10th Jul 17, 1:46 PM
    • #5
    • 10th Jul 17, 1:46 PM
    We are not opposed to state pension age equalisation. In fact, we are in favour of equal rights (and responsibilities) for men and women. We believe that men and women should retire at the same time. Neither are we calling for the state pension age to revert to 60, and we are not asking for a reversal of any Pension Act.

    I thought the whole purpose of GRASPI was for exactly the opposite of those 5 things...
    Conjugating the verb 'to be":
    o I am humble
    o You are attention seeking
    o She is Nadine Dorries
  • jamesd
    • #6
    • 10th Jul 17, 2:40 PM
    • #6
    • 10th Jul 17, 2:40 PM
    Further to my earlier post, I complain that this coverage has breached the MSE Editorial Code by:

    A. covering the topic but completely failing to mention the offer of help by the minister when the Editorial Code repeatedly emphasises that the site must put the consumer first

    and

    B. breached normally accepted ethical standards for journalism by using a title that falsely asserted that a minister had said something on the topic that he in fact had not said.

    To be clear, I also recognise that Martin and presumably MSE wish to campaign on this issue and that I probably differ at least in some areas of emphasis on that campaigning. This complaint is expressly NOT about that campaigning, but solely confined to the matters in this complaint. That is, campaigning is great, including when I may disagree, but please try to put the consumer first and maintain good standards of accuracy when doing it.
    Last edited by jamesd; 10-07-2017 at 2:52 PM.
    • bmm78
    • By bmm78 10th Jul 17, 3:20 PM
    • 420 Posts
    • 563 Thanks
    bmm78
    • #7
    • 10th Jul 17, 3:20 PM
    • #7
    • 10th Jul 17, 3:20 PM
    A bit more insight into Jane Cowley for anyone who cares:

    https://www.theguardian.com/money/2016/mar/16/first-time-buyers-pensioners-budget-2016-george-osborne


    This bit in particular caught my eye:

    "She is a retired primary school head who worked in Surrey"

    '"she says. “I’ve got a small occupational pension"'


    I work for a financial services intermediary specialising in the at-retirement market. I am not a financial adviser, and any comments represent my opinion only and should not be construed as advice or a recommendation
    • Malthusian
    • By Malthusian 10th Jul 17, 4:06 PM
    • 2,882 Posts
    • 4,114 Thanks
    Malthusian
    • #8
    • 10th Jul 17, 4:06 PM
    • #8
    • 10th Jul 17, 4:06 PM
    We are not opposed to state pension age equalisation. In fact, we are in favour of equal rights (and responsibilities) for men and women. We believe that men and women should retire at the same time. Neither are we calling for the state pension age to revert to 60, and we are not asking for a reversal of any Pension Act.
    I thought the whole purpose of GRASPI was for exactly the opposite of those 5 things...
    Originally posted by Paul_Herring
    WASPI only want women born in the 1950s to be given State Pension at 60 (backdated). This would not amount to a reversal of the 1995 Pension Act because a woman born 1 January 1960 would, under WASPI's demands, still receive her State Pension at 66, 6 years later than a woman born one day earlier.

    "But that's manifestly unfair" you say. Welcome to WASPIland. The rest is just disingenuous.
    • Mortgagefreeman
    • By Mortgagefreeman 10th Jul 17, 5:11 PM
    • 406 Posts
    • 910 Thanks
    Mortgagefreeman
    • #9
    • 10th Jul 17, 5:11 PM
    • #9
    • 10th Jul 17, 5:11 PM
    A bit more insight into Jane Cowley for anyone who cares:

    https://www.theguardian.com/money/2016/mar/16/first-time-buyers-pensioners-budget-2016-george-osborne


    This bit in particular caught my eye:

    "She is a retired primary school head who worked in Surrey"

    '"she says. “I’ve got a small occupational pension"'


    Originally posted by bmm78
    Lives in Belford, Northumberland. Brings up an address of a Farmhouse bought in 2009 for £610,000. Times must be hard.
    Remoaners. Embrace your inner Brexit and become a 're-leaver'
    • le loup
    • By le loup 10th Jul 17, 5:30 PM
    • 3,573 Posts
    • 3,398 Thanks
    le loup
    Aw, this is getting very DMish. Attack the message - and it needs to be attacked - not the messenger.
    • LHW99
    • By LHW99 10th Jul 17, 6:04 PM
    • 856 Posts
    • 683 Thanks
    LHW99
    As someone who had my pension age put back twice (ie in the relevant cohort) I may say to Ms. Cowley and the WASPI campaign (and MSE Martin should he care to recieve my views) you do not speak for me, or many others of my age.
    Yes, I was disgruntled to have my SPA put back a second time - I would have preferred the Government to have made the change in one go from the start and had done. But so what. Governments of all persuations do things that I don't personally approve of.
    I have spent my life wanting and expecting equal opportunity - which in my field was not that evident when I began work. I am not going to go back on that now and ask that I should be treated better than the men I worked with, and who I expected to treat me in the same way as they treated their male colleagues.
    On the whole our generation, male and female, have benefitted by a reduction in the heavy manual activities required of earlier generations. Those who are unfit for work have access to appropriate benefits if they are below SPA, which is as it should be.
    • bmm78
    • By bmm78 10th Jul 17, 6:48 PM
    • 420 Posts
    • 563 Thanks
    bmm78
    Aw, this is getting very DMish. Attack the message - and it needs to be attacked - not the messenger.
    Originally posted by le loup
    I don't think posting previous dubious statements made in her role as a WASPI campaigner (in the mainstream media), is crossing any red line. She makes some highly contentious comments in the MSE article, and previous examples of this helps to put these comments into context.

    Let's not forget that this is a campaign that is demanding £77bn of taxpayer's money, has threatened legal action (kind of) against the government, and whose supportive MPs have tried to sabotage important private pension legislation.
    I work for a financial services intermediary specialising in the at-retirement market. I am not a financial adviser, and any comments represent my opinion only and should not be construed as advice or a recommendation
    • rtho782
    • By rtho782 10th Jul 17, 7:20 PM
    • 978 Posts
    • 679 Thanks
    rtho782
    If she needs to expend so much effort explaining how she is not against pension age equality, perhaps they shouldn't have named their group WASPI.

    And, any reduction in their pension age just means my generation pay for it when we won't be getting a pension until much later, and haven't benefited from a lifetime of house price growth.
    Deposit Saved since 01/12/15: £13,000 / £15,000 House Bought!

    Debt Cleared since 01/12/15: £6,000 / £7,500
    • hyubh
    • By hyubh 10th Jul 17, 7:35 PM
    • 1,887 Posts
    • 1,400 Thanks
    hyubh
    This bit in particular caught my eye:

    "She is a retired primary school head who worked in Surrey"

    '"she says. “I’ve got a small occupational pension"'


    Originally posted by bmm78
    If I'm reading the details right, won't she be one of those public sector scheme members who have benefited from the government deciding to grant full increases on their GMP, for life, as a 'transitional' measure...?
    • colsten
    • By colsten 10th Jul 17, 8:46 PM
    • 8,717 Posts
    • 7,370 Thanks
    colsten
    As someone who had my pension age put back twice (ie in the relevant cohort) I may say to Ms. Cowley and the WASPI campaign (and MSE Martin should he care to recieve my views) you do not speak for me, or many others of my age.
    Yes, I was disgruntled to have my SPA put back a second time - I would have preferred the Government to have made the change in one go from the start and had done. But so what. Governments of all persuations do things that I don't personally approve of.
    I have spent my life wanting and expecting equal opportunity - which in my field was not that evident when I began work. I am not going to go back on that now and ask that I should be treated better than the men I worked with, and who I expected to treat me in the same way as they treated their male colleagues.
    On the whole our generation, male and female, have benefitted by a reduction in the heavy manual activities required of earlier generations. Those who are unfit for work have access to appropriate benefits if they are below SPA, which is as it should be.
    Originally posted by LHW99
    Hear hear! I am much in the same situation and of the same opinion - could not have said it better myself!
    • Archi Bald
    • By Archi Bald 10th Jul 17, 8:46 PM
    • 9,347 Posts
    • 7,394 Thanks
    Archi Bald
    And, any reduction in their pension age just means my generation pay for it when we won't be getting a pension until much later, and haven't benefited from a lifetime of house price growth.
    Originally posted by rtho782
    You and people your age and younger are also most unlikely to benefit from a defined benefit pension, unlike Jane Cowley and huge numbers of 1950s women. Huge numbers of the protesters are teachers, nurses and civil servants. Or should I say "were", as large numbers of them are now at state pension age, and many of them had stopped working before then.
    • Silvertabby
    • By Silvertabby 10th Jul 17, 9:39 PM
    • 1,512 Posts
    • 1,807 Thanks
    Silvertabby
    “ As someone who had my pension age put back twice (ie in the relevant cohort) I may say to Ms. Cowley and the WASPI campaign (and MSE Martin should he care to recieve my views) you do not speak for me, or many others of my age.
    Yes, I was disgruntled to have my SPA put back a second time - I would have preferred the Government to have made the change in one go from the start and had done. But so what. Governments of all persuations do things that I don't personally approve of.
    I have spent my life wanting and expecting equal opportunity - which in my field was not that evident when I began work. I am not going to go back on that now and ask that I should be treated better than the men I worked with, and who I expected to treat me in the same way as they treated their male colleagues.
    On the whole our generation, male and female, have benefitted by a reduction in the heavy manual activities required of earlier generations. Those who are unfit for work have access to appropriate benefits if they are below SPA, which is as it should be.
    Originally posted by LHW99
    Hear hear! I am much in the same situation and of the same opinion - could not have said it better myself! Posted by colsten
    Ditto. I've told younger colleagues of my experiences as a woman in the Armed Forces in the 1970s, but I don't think they believed me. Perhaps it's best if I don't give any examples of the problems I had to deal with on a family forum!

    Not only that, but before I joined up I worked as a shelf stacker in our local Co-op. Dress policy for women was the issued knee-length dust coat, with the proviso that our own clothes must not be visible above the neck or below the hem of the coat. The job involved climbing ladders to stock the higher shelves - which left us a 'bit exposed' to say the least. A senior colleague asked the manager if we could wear trousers (this was the early 1970s) but we were told 'definitely not - lady shoppers sometimes bring their husbands in with them, so the least we can do is give them something nice to look at'. This was said in all seriousness. Then when my friend accepted a job at a petrol station, she was told that her 'uniform' would be her own denim jeans and the issued t-shirt with the garage logo on the front. Fine, except this was nothing more than 2 hankerchiefs with shoe lace straps. My friend (who was never in any danger of falling flat on her face) said she couldn't wear that as her bra straps would show. 'No they won't', she was told 'dress regs are NO bra'.

    All that is in the past now, and rightly so - but equality doesn't just apply to the good things.
    • badmemory
    • By badmemory 11th Jul 17, 2:42 AM
    • 680 Posts
    • 666 Thanks
    badmemory
    I was really hoping that by now this would have died a (hopefully very quiet) death. I find the ignorance of supposedly intellegent women (teachers etc) to be, as I have said before, quite embarrassing. My mother, who would have been 93 last week, knew about these changes. We discusssed the hope that state pension age may have been equalised at 63. This was before the increase in life expectancy became so evident. I also find it embarrssing that so many women find that the equality we (well most of us) wanted, was unnoticed. Having a young child or other caring responsibilities is not an excuse.
    • MSE Jason Mills
      Verified User verified user
    • By MSE Jason Mills Verified User verified user 11th Jul 17, 11:24 AM
    • 1 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    MSE Jason Mills
    Further to my earlier post, I complain that this coverage has breached the MSE Editorial Code by:

    A. covering the topic but completely failing to mention the offer of help by the minister when the Editorial Code repeatedly emphasises that the site must put the consumer first

    and

    B. breached normally accepted ethical standards for journalism by using a title that falsely asserted that a minister had said something on the topic that he in fact had not said.

    To be clear, I also recognise that Martin and presumably MSE wish to campaign on this issue and that I probably differ at least in some areas of emphasis on that campaigning. This complaint is expressly NOT about that campaigning, but solely confined to the matters in this complaint. That is, campaigning is great, including when I may disagree, but please try to put the consumer first and maintain good standards of accuracy when doing it.
    Originally posted by jamesd
    Dear jamesd,

    Many thanks for contacting the Forum and raising your concerns about MSE’s guest comment from Jane Cowley, a director of the Women Against State Pension Inequality (WASPI) campaign.

    http://www.moneysavingexpert.com/news/family/2017/07/guest-comment-waspi-campaign-responds-to-pensions-minister-advice-to-take-up-apprenticeships

    Last Wednesday (5th July), cross-party MPs spent more than an hour describing the financial hardship caused to some 3.5 million women born in the 1950s who have been affected by the changes made to the State Pension Age. First and foremost, MSE is a consumer champion website and given the large number of consumers affected by these changes, it is editorially appropriate that MSE reports and provides its users with WASPI coverage. Alongside our news stories which are journalistically robust, MSE sometimes invites contributors to provide the site with a guest blog.

    On reading the transcript of the debate, there’s no doubt that Pensions Minister, Guy Opperman MP put forward apprenticeships as one of the key solutions to those women affected by the changes state pension age:

    “Thirdly, we have also extended apprenticeship opportunities—one of the best routes into skilled employment—for people of all ages and gender. For example, in England in 2014 to 2015, 12% of those starting apprenticeships were aged over 45.”


    The Minister’s response focused almost entirely on returning individuals to the labour market rather than debating any potential transitional arrangements for women born in the 1950s who now have to wait up to 6 years longer before being eligible for their state pension. Guy Opperman’s closing remarks re-iterate this:

    “It is not the Government’s proposal to repeal or ameliorate the 1995 or 2011 Acts, but I accept that we must do all we can to assist everyone affected into retraining and employment, and to provide support if that is not possible. The commitment to provide support is clear, unequivocal and ongoing.”

    It is also worth noting that Grahame Morris MP refers to apprenticeships during his summary, making it clear their role was part of the debate.

    “As a nation, we owe a debt of honour to the WASPI women, many of whom are now in ill health, who have paid their contributions and who are not looking for apprenticeships at age 64 but for some recognition of their contribution—sometimes over 44 or 45 years or more. I ask the Minister to discharge his responsibilities; otherwise, the people may discharge this Government.”

    Finally, with regards to how MSE presented Jane Cowley’s blog to its users – please note MSE’s introductory remarks.

    “During the same parliamentary debate on Wednesday (5 July), Opperman said the Government had done a "massive amount" to get people back into employment or retraining during their pre-pension years, including supporting "lifelong learning", with over 200,000 over-60s entering further education since 2014/15, and extending apprenticeship opportunities. Views do not necessarily reflect those of MoneySavingExpert.com.”

    This accurately summarises Guy Opperman’s position in the debate and also clearly states that the views being expressed don’t necessarily reflect those of MSE.

    Once again, many thanks for raising your concerns – MSE really appreciates feedback and dialogue with its users.

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    • bmm78
    • By bmm78 11th Jul 17, 12:07 PM
    • 420 Posts
    • 563 Thanks
    bmm78
    Last Wednesday (5th July), cross-party MPs spent more than an hour describing the financial hardship caused to some 3.5 million women born in the 1950s who have been affected by the changes made to the State Pension Age. First and foremost, MSE is a consumer champion website and given the large number of consumers affected by these changes, it is editorially appropriate that MSE reports and provides its users with WASPI coverage.
    Originally posted by MSE Jason Mills
    Every woman born after 1950 and every man born after 1953 has had their state pension age increased. As a consumer champion, what is MSE doing to highlight the financial hardship of those born after 1961, who have a higher state pension age than any woman born in the 1950s and have in many cases had their state pension age increased three times? Why does there appear to be a disproportionate focus on women born in the 1950s?


    On reading the transcript of the debate, there’s no doubt that Pensions Minister, Guy Opperman MP put forward apprenticeships as one of the key solutions to those women affected by the changes state pension age:

    “Thirdly, we have also extended apprenticeship opportunities—one of the best routes into skilled employment—for people of all ages and gender. For example, in England in 2014 to 2015, 12% of those starting apprenticeships were aged over 45.”

    Originally posted by MSE Jason Mills
    At what point was this proposed as a "key solution"? The context for several areas Opperman covered was "the Government have done a massive amount on a progressive basis to get people back into employment or retraining in their pre-pension years".



    The Minister’s response focused almost entirely on returning individuals to the labour market rather than debating any potential transitional arrangements for women born in the 1950s who now have to wait up to 6 years longer before being eligible for their state pension. Guy Opperman’s closing remarks re-iterate this:
    Originally posted by MSE Jason Mills
    "Now" have to wait up to 6 years longer? The bulk of these changes were passed through parliament 22 years ago.


    It is also worth noting that Grahame Morris MP refers to apprenticeships during his summary, making it clear their role was part of the debate.

    “As a nation, we owe a debt of honour to the WASPI women, many of whom are now in ill health, who have paid their contributions and who are not looking for apprenticeships at age 64 but for some recognition of their contribution—sometimes over 44 or 45 years or more. I ask the Minister to discharge his responsibilities; otherwise, the people may discharge this Government.”
    Originally posted by MSE Jason Mills
    Morris immediately leapt onto Opperman's remarks and distorted them. How does that in any way prove that apprenticeships were a key part of the debate? Opperman did not mention apprenticeships at any point other than the words quoted above.


    The article (and defence of it) continue to attribute statements to the Pensions Minister that are only possible through inference. Opperman made a factual point about apprenticeships for over 45s. He may or may not have intended this to be taken as a "solution" for 1950s women; his subsequent clarification suggest otherwise.

    However, the title of the article claims that he "advised WASPI women to take up apprenticeships", which is completely incorrect and misleading.

    I think it is reasonable for MSE to cover the WASPI issue; it is evidently a hot topic judging by the number of comments it generated. However, MSE surely have a responsibility to cut through the numerous myths and distortions that surround the issue, and present information and opinion in a balanced way.
    I work for a financial services intermediary specialising in the at-retirement market. I am not a financial adviser, and any comments represent my opinion only and should not be construed as advice or a recommendation
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