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With its accession to government in 1997, the members of the Labour Party started a vast reform of the system for retirement in the United Kingdom along the orientation lines of the conservative administrations. A disengagement by the State from the financing of pensions is confirmed, as well as the encouragement of individual responsibility. Even if the continued support of the British public finances in the long run is not affected, thanks to the demographic constraints (less critical than elsewhere) and to the parametric modifications made some twenty years ago, without reform of some kind the United Kingdom will in the year 2025 b, exposed to a risk of increased impoverishment among pensioners.
Faced with the failure of the major conservative reforms launched in 199516, the project of Tony Blair must ensure that it can return purchasing power to an increasing population of future beneficiaries, who now face more and more varying career paths, and thus irregular and often modest incomes. In this respect the promotion of the “Stakeholder Pension” – a new individual plan for retirement from “New Labour” – presented as being flexible, protected and good value (due to the legal limitations on its management costs), will play a strategic role in the system as a whole. The Labour government is here seeking to adapt the retirement system, both in its public and private components, to the new economic and social factors now emerging with the generalised flexibility in the labour market across the channel. The article presents the issues impacting on “Stakeholder Pensions”, whose success can only b assured thanks to the success of the control reforms enacted at the same time, and thanks to the developing active consumerism across the channel.

Michèle Lelièvre
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