A big thank you to George Osborne – from the pensioners of Britain

Annuities were compulsory until the then chancellor freed pensioners to do what they liked with their money. Today, the income from them is pitiful

It’s not a line you’re likely to see often in the Guardian, but thank you George Osborne for the towering achievement of your reign as chancellor: you got rid of annuities and saved millions of pensioners-to-be from a spiral of catastrophically low payouts from their life savings.

Annuities, for those not in the know, are an income for life. The idea is that at retirement you swap your pension savings accumulated while at work for an agreed fixed income, paid out every year until you die. They used to be compulsory until Osborne stunned the £12bn-a-year industry, freeing retirees to do what they like with their money.

Related: Annuity rates hit all-time low as pension freedoms introduced

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