Sell homes to pay for pensions, Tory says

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PENSIONERS should be made to sell assets or re- finance their home to provide an income for their retirement rather than rely on the state to provide, a leading right-wing Tory MP said yesterday, writes Rosie Waterhouse.

David Willetts, MP for Havant and a a member of the Social Security Select Committee, was setting out a six-point plan for how the Government could transform the welfare benefits system to cut costs and target people in need.

Mr Willetts was addressing a conference on the future of the welfare state organised by the Centre for Policy Studies, the right-wing think-tank. His blueprint contains proposals which the Government is known to be considering.

Mr Willetts said: 'The only way the inheritance revolution - whereby large numbers of middle aged people suddenly found themsleves inheriting assets when their parents die - could happen is if the state has been providing for them in their later years. We should be dampening expectations of inheritance and their assets should be used to help provide an income in their old age.'

Frank Field, Labour MP for Birkenhead and chairman of the select committee, reinforced his 'maverick' image by calling for 'compulsory savings' for everyone in work to finance their retirement.