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Pension changes 'may unlock £140bn'

Up to £140 billion of savings could be released when millions of over 55-year-olds are allowed to cash in their pension pots from next month, ministers have said.

Under changes announced by Chancellor George Osborne in last year's Budget - which come into force on April 6 - savers will no longer be required to purchase an annuity and will be able to spend the money as they choose.

Officials pointed to figures form the Office for National Statistics suggesting £140 billion in defined contribution wealth will be unlocked - with savers over 55 having accumulated on average £25,000 per person.

Mr Osborne said: "From 6 April onwards, people who have worked hard and saved all their lives will have the freedom to make their own, informed, choice about what to do with their pension in retirement.

"This all comes back into our values: Conservatives trust people.

"We believe your money is your money, and you should be in control of it. You've earned it, you've saved it, you should be able to spend it as you wish."

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