It will be another step towards the ultimate aim of the Tories, which is to privatise all pensions and turn them into so-called defined contribution, or money-purchase, schemes that generate profits for the privateers at the expense of workers.

This is what business wants - make all workers responsible for their own "pension pots." It gets companies out of paying pension contributions that they regard as a cost set against profits rather than part of workers' pay, which is what pension contributions are.
 
Thus most companies in the private sector have now ditched superior defined-benefit, final-salary schemes - previously the norm - replacing them with these defined-contribution schemes.
 
In such schemes there is no guarantee what the final pension will be. It will depend on how the financial assets of each person's pension fund performs when "invested" over their working lives, and the annuity that the accumulated fund can provide when the person retires.
 
In other words, all the gambling risks are born by the individual.
 
Even the state-run National Employment Savings Trust, to be introduced next year to cover workers not currently in any pension scheme, will be run as defined-contribution schemes by the private sector.
 
There is a myth - which even some trade union leaders believe - that individuals need to build up a fund out of which their pension will be paid.
 
But this is not at all necessary - you just need to ensure the total contributions to the scheme more or less match the amount needed to pay the pensions.
 
Of course there would be fluctuations but they can be ironed out by borrowing when there are deficits and investing any surplus cash.
 
The most efficient way of providing decent pensions for all is by far a comprehensive state-run pay-as-you-go scheme covering everybody, in which money coming in pays for pensions going out.
 
This would create economies of scale that hundreds of private schemes could never match.
 
And, unlike private schemes, there are no funds accumulating that need to be "managed," with all the costs, fees and commissions paid to managers and brokers.
 
Marketing costs, sales commissions and profits for the big financial firms running the schemes would be eliminated, as well as the costs of advisers paid to sift through the small print of competing schemes, which are invariably complex and opaque.
 
On top of these there is the tax relief allowed on pension contributions to private schemes, which currently costs taxpayers £35 billion a year and a quarter of which goes to the richest 1 per cent.
 
None of these costs apply to a state-run pay-as-you-go pension scheme. Indeed, even those with a vested interest in the private pensions industry acknowledge that the admin costs of a pay-as-you-go system are very low - less than one per cent of contributions.
 
Essentially all that is required is to keep an account of contributions coming in and of pensions being paid out, which can be computerised. In other words you get more pension for the money that you pay in.
 
Moreover, there is none of the hassle and bureaucratic costs of having to change pension schemes when you changes jobs since you have one pension account for life.
 
And perhaps most importantly there are none of the risks that your pension fund might lose money because of a collapse in the price of its investments.
 
It was precisely this sort of scheme that Labour governments wanted to introduce during the '60s and '70s. But they faced fierce opposition and threats from the private pensions industry and the finance sector.
 
Eventually in 1978 the Labour government launched the State Earnings-Related Pensions Scheme (Serps), with contributions shared by employees and employers.
 
By any measure, especially by its capacity to deliver worthwhile and secure pensions for people when they retire, it was an outstanding success.
 
But unfortunately Serps was not comprehensive.
 
First, private pensions schemes already operating were allowed to contract out. But this was on condition that their provisions were at least as good as Serps - which, between 1976 and 1978, led to the biggest single improvement in occupational pension schemes.
 
Second, Serps did not cover low-paid workers who in any case, as now, cannot afford to pay into pension schemes.
 
This of course can only be remedied by raising wages, which is another issue.
 
Serps and public schemes in general have one major flaw - they provide no profits for the private sector.
 
When the Tories were elected in 1979 they wanted to scrap Serps, but they didn't dare. Instead they undermined it step-by-step, including bribing members to opt out and join inferior private schemes.
 
The undermining continued under new Labour, until eventually Serps was abolished. This also sounded the death knell of decent private occupational schemes.
 
One of the arguments perpetuated by the privateers is that "we" can't afford pay-as-you-go public pension schemes because people are living longer and there are not enough workers.
 
A couple of years ago I calculated that up to 2050, when the proportion of older people in the population would start to fall, the pension contributions of people of working age were easily sufficient to finance decent pensions for all workers when they retire - provided there was more or less full employment and an economic growth rate of around 5 per cent a year.
 
And there would be no need to raise the age when people would be entitled to receive their pensions. Of course, people could still choose to carry on working, perhaps part-time, which many no doubt would if there were decent jobs about, and this would contribute towards economic growth.
 
In short, if pensions become unaffordable it will not because of demographics but because of a stagnant economy.
 
We must not let the Tories divide us between public-sector workers "whose pensions are paid for by taxpayers" - just as their wages are because that is why we pay taxes, and pensions are part of their wages - and private-sector workers whose employers have emasculated what were once-decent pension schemes.
 
So while supporting public-sector workers in their struggle, we should be pushing for the wholesale nationalisation of pensions schemes, turning them into a single comprehensive state-run pay-as-you-go earnings-related scheme.
 
But such a state-run programme should not be run by any government, but by a separate statutory body, with its own democratic governance, independent of the government of the day - which in the past have had no qualms with plundering pension schemes to finance pet projects, such as ballistic missiles.
 
Jerry Jones discusses the appalling state of pensions in Britain, and possible alternatives, in more detail in his pamphlet The Future of Pensions: How to Ensure a Decent Retirement for All, available from CPB, Ruskin House, 23 Coombe Lane, Croydon CR0 1BD for £2.50 including p&p.