The Chancellor’s pledge to consult on how best to ban pensions cold calling and a wider range of pension scams has been welcomed with cautious optimism, by the director of a leading pensions campaign group.

 The comment from Angela Brooks, Director of Pension Life, set up to identify and prevent pension scams, close loopholes in pension law and rescue victims of pension and investment fraud, comes after Philip Hammond delivered his first – and last – Autumn Statement today.

 Ms Brooks comments: “We are cautiously optimistic about the Chancellor’s vow to consult on banning pensions cold calling.

 “Pension Life is currently working on rescuing hundreds of victims of £1.7bn worth of lost pension funds. Many of these people were scammed out of their retirement income due to such cold calling practices.”

 She continues: “The Pension Life team and their many supporters in the industry are very pleased that at long last the government’s shameful policy of inaction appears to have made one small corrective step in the right direction.  However, it is a step that could be a complete waste of time and indeed counterproductive – if it is not reinforced by a number of other essential measures – otherwise the scammers’ cold-calling operations will simply change tactics.

 “What the government does next must be examined faithfully in the context of the DWP’s historical failures to address the question of pension and investment scams this past couple of years.”

 In a statement at the weekend, Ms Brooks said: “If we’re now heading towards some form of prevention, the government now needs to tackle the problem of the damage this scourge of the financial services industry has caused both in the UK and offshore in the past six years.  Thousands of victims have been left financially crippled – not just by the scammers but also by HMRC – while the regulators and ombudsmen have twiddled their thumbs.

 “Hopefully, this will be the start of a sea of change in Britain’s attitude to fraud and a serious collection of effective measures put in place to prevent more scams and thwart the armies of scammers in all jurisdictions.”

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