Tag Archives: steve webb

Steve Webb on working with IDS: “When it comes to pensions I think he trusts my judgment.”

steve webbPensions minister Steve Webb is one Lib Dem minister who has emerged from Coalition with his reputation enhanced, praised even by such diverse admirers as The Sun, The Guardian and Quentin Letts. Today’s Daily Mail features a warm profile of him talking about his passion: pensions. Here are a couple of excerpts that give a flavour…

On working with Iain Duncan Smith

Today, he and Work & Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith have become Westminster’s odd couple. IDS is renowned for his Right-wing stance on benefits and welfare, and Mr Webb

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Without a shadow of a doubt: Vince Cable should be the Lib Dems’ Shadow Chancellor at the 2015 election

Vincent CableOne of the quirks of being in coalition is the Lib Dems no longer have a shadow chancellor. But we shall need one in time for the 2015 general election – not least for the traditional televised ‘Ask the Chancellors’ debate.

There have been newspaper reports that there’s some jockeying for this position, with the Financial Times reporting that “Senior Lib Dems say the high-profile job is very likely to go to Danny Alexander, the Treasury chief secretary”.

Meanwhile, over at the New Statesman, Lib Dem blogger Richard Morris …

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Independent: Liberal Democrats’ “major and under-rated contribution” to Budget success

Budget 2010 photocallYesterday’s Independent editorial had some very complimentary things to say about the Liberal Democrats’ influence on the Budget:

It is widely said that George Osborne had a decent Budget this week, aided in no small part by Ed Miliband’s curiously weak response. But the Liberal Democrats, as has frequently been the case during this parliament, made a major and underrated contribution to its success.

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“Steve Webb has now become one of the most important people in government”

steve webbAccording to The Guardian’s Andrew Sparrow, at any rate, who noted the Lib Dem pensions minister’s fingerprints all over this week’s budget:

The Lib Dem pensions minister, Steve Webb, has now become one of the most important people in government. A rare example of a minister who is an expert in his area, he has been pushing the pension pot liberalisation plan (which is firmly rooted in longstanding Lib Dem party policy) and the legislation on this – which he will almost certainly have to take through the Commons –

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Nick Clegg announces 2015 negotiating team

Nick Clegg has announced the team who will handle coalition negotiations after the election in 2015 (if needed, of course).  It will consist of Danny Alexander, Steve Webb, Sal Brinton, Lynne Featherstone and David Laws.

In his book ‘22 days in May‘ David Laws revealed that Nick Clegg had appointed the 2010 negotiating team in secret during the previous year. The team was not put together in haste after the election, as many had assumed, so there were really no excuses for the absence of women. Politically David Laws and Danny Alexander were drawn from the economic liberal wing of …

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Steve Webb on switching annuities for a better pension

The Telegraph reports that Liberal Democrat pensions minister Steve Webb is considering allowing pensioners to switch annuity providers bringing more competition and better value for pensioners.

The intervention comes before a report from regulators that is expected to accuse pension firms of making excessive profits from millions of people converting their lifetime savings into annuities.

Currently, most people are forced to use their pension savings to buy an annuity — paying an annual income for the rest of their lives. For many people, it is the biggest financial decision they will make. However, in recent years annuity rates have plunged, trapping many people in poor-value schemes that have destroyed the value of their lifetime savings.

The ability to switch annuities after retirement would trigger a revolution for savers and kick-start an industry catering for people who are shopping around to boost the value of their pension.

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The battle for pensioners’ votes begins with Cameron on Liberal Democrat turf

The latest Ashcroft polling shows that the Conservatives have a long way to go to be within a shout of victory, with 37% of those who voted Tory saying at the moment that they would not do so if there were an election tomorrow. It’s hardly surprising, then, that David Cameron kicks off the next stage in the 2015 election campaign, in an interview with today’s Sunday Times (£), by pledging to stick to one of the Coalition’s most successful policies through another Parliament.

The Tories have previous for trying to claim the credit for a Liberal Democrat policy. Last …

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LibLink: Steve Webb – Issue of pension charges has been neglected for too long

The BBC reports on Steve Webb’s planned “full frontal assault” on the charges that pensions companies levy for management of pensions funds:

Pensions minister Steve Webb told BBC Radio 5 Live Breakfast that the move was just the start of a much broader review into pensions charges.

He said: “We do have powers to cap a much wider range of charges. The document today looks at banning something called active member discounts. That means when you leave a firm they jack your charges up – we don’t think this is right so we will probably ban those.”

Steve has written an article …

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A reply to Matt on welfare by Lib Dem ministers Norman Lamb and Steve Webb: “We believe in standing up for the vulnerable”

This week, Lib Dem Voice published a deeply personal account by one of our readers, Matt: I need the Liberal Democrats to stand up for me when Conservative ministers denigrate me. It was read by many in the party, including two Lib Dem ministers in the Coalition — Norman Lamb MP (Department of Health) and Steve Webb MP (Department for Work and Pensions) — who have co-authored the following response.

lamb and webb

When we read the article posted on Lib Dem Voice on Wednesday by Matt, setting out very personally the distressing and painful experiences he has faced over the past few years in trying to access the welfare and health support he needs, we felt it was important that we respond properly to what he had said.

As Liberal Democrats, we instinctively understand that divisive rhetoric is both unhelpful and inaccurate, and for both of these reasons we should all remain constantly vigilant in challenging those who use this type of language to denigrate any member of our society. We believe in standing up for the vulnerable and providing support to those who are facing personal difficulties in their lives.

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Might some of the welfare changes be a little more helpful to people than Osborne made out?

Conservative Conference week is never an easy time to be a Liberal Democrat. The Conservative in its natural habitat is not a pretty sight to those of us who cherish the principles at the heart of the preamble to our constitution, of liberty, equality and community, of freeing people from poverty, ignorance or conformity. The words Tory leaders use to rally their troops give us that joyless feeling that is known in Scotland as the dry boak.

But, you know, the Tory conference is what the Cabinet table would be like if it weren’t for the Liberal Democrats in Government. …

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Economy motion carried: Nick Clegg wins overwhelming backing from Lib Dem conference

Lib Dem conference has spoken — and it has overwhelmingly backed Nick Clegg. Before the debate I had a hunch the result would be somewhat different. Though Nick had shrugged off a reported split with Vince Cable as “a storm in a tea cup”, I thought Vince’s obvious discontent with the decision to make this vote a test of strength, together with the assiduous ground-work and careful drafting of the Social Liberal Forum’s amendments, would pose a real problem for the party leadership.

And for the first third of the debate I thought my hunch might be fulfilled, with …

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Opinion: Reflections on the Social Liberal Forum conference

slflogoSo what did we learn this weekend?

In several ways, the Social Liberal Forum conference in Manchester has been about celebration. Not only was the weather as glorious as it was when I left that great city as a student; but the work of the SLF in ensuring the delivery of social Liberal policies in Government has been worthwhile, should not be ignored and merits recognition for those who have played a part in it.

We were also – rightly – challenged by Norman Lamb when thinking about public services, …

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The Steve Webb interview: How I built a modern, inclusive, liberal State Pension system

steve webbAt the excellent Social Liberal Forum Conference on Saturday, a group of eight bloggers spent the lunch break interviewing Liberal Democrat Pensions Minister Steve Webb just before he delivered the second Beveridge Memorial Lecture.

The thing about Steve Webb is that he might have Professor in front of his name and MP after it, but he’s  in no way intimidating, though. He speaks with authority, but engagingly so,  has no airs and graces and has a knack of explaining some complex concepts in language that even I can understand. He …

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Interview: Nick Clegg on the economy, welfare, Cleggism and the “superb” Kung Fu Panda films

CleggWe brought you a taste of the Voice’s exclusive interview with the deputy prime minister yesterday. Here is the full interview, covering the economy, welfare reform, pensions, Cleggism, our approach to the manifesto, Kung Fu Panda and Clegg’s cooking.

Nick Thornsby: What’s your take on where the economy is now, three and a bit years into the coalition?

Nick Clegg: My overall assessment is that it is healing. There are signs of confidence slowly seeping back into the sinews of the economy. Some of the latest data on consumer confidence are better …

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Pensions, the triple lock and Scottish independence

Steve Webb has come under a bit of fire for comments that his triple lock, which guarantees a state pension rise by the higher of earnings, inflation or 2.5% can’t be guaranteed after the election. Let’s look at what he actually said to the Financial Times.

My view is it should be triple lock; to be absolutely clear, I would want to see that continue. But we, as a party, will have to thrash that one out.

He made clear that this would be something that all parties would have go deal with.

This is pretty much a statement of the obvious. …

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Well done, Ed Balls. He’s opened up space for a proper welfare debate. Lib Dems now need to claim that space.

Ed Balls has done us all a favour. His announcement last week that if he were Chancellor he would put a stop to winter fuel allowances for well-off pensioners means Labour has joined the Lib Dems in saying we need to focus the welfare budget where it’s needed most, not keep on re-distributing from the worse off to the better off in the name of universalism. It’s why I chose him as my 38th Liberal Hero.

And yesterday he was at it again, highlighting quite how much of the welfare budget the state pension represents — some £74 …

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11 Liberal Democrat MPs vote for registrars to be exempt from marrying same sex couples

The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill has made fairly easy progress through the Commons tonight. After a Government/Labour compromise on a review for extending civil partnerships to opposite sex couples, and the heavy defeat or withdrawal of amendments, including “son of Section 28″, it looks as though many of the barriers to this Bill’s passage have been removed.

There is still a further day of debate tomorrow, though, and further amendments to be debated.

One of the amendments discussed today, defeated by 340 votes to 150 in favour, was to allow registrars to exempt themselves from marrying same sex couples. Eleven Liberal …

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Welfare reform: what should the Lib Dems do?

This much I think I know… Cuts to the overall welfare budget are inescapable: it accounts for too large a chunk of of public spending for it to be immune — certainly if the NHS, schools and overseas aid budgets are to be protected at the same time as spending is reduced.

These cuts would be happening whichever party was in power, though doubtless the precise methods would differ. The IFS’s verdict in 2010 on what they termed Labour’s “fiscal drift” was stark: “By the eve of the financial crisis … the UK one of the largest structural …

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Hoggart on Webb: “He understands it so you don’t have to! Thank heavens!”

steve webbThe Guardian’s Simon Hoggart has been collecting examples of impenetrable jargon. This week, Lib Dem pensions minister Steve Webb features:

Thanks for the many examples of jargon you’ve sent in, and we’ll have a proper look at it all soon. In the meantime, there are examples which are actually quite helpful.

Take work and pensions, which is without a doubt the most difficult of all government departments. Yet the Liberal Democrat minister Steve Webb actually seems to know exactly what he is talking about. He may be alone. See if you

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Opinion: The real split in today’s Liberal Democrats – and how to fix it

As this weekend’s events have proved, the real and fundamental split in the Liberal Democrats of 2013 is not between Liberals and Social Democrats, economic liberalism or social liberalism, centrists and radicals.  It is a real and growing divide between the Party’s leadership and its activists; and that has been thrown into sharp relief by both the result of the Eastleigh by-election and events at Conference.  As Dan Falchikov, with whom I’m in frequent agreement on strategic if not economic issues, highlights, it is an issue that could be very serious if unaddressed.

The reasons for this are broadly twofold.

The …

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Eastleigh by-election: your essential round-up of the latest campaign news (13 Feb)

Here’s a round-up of news from the past 24 hours in the Eastleigh by-election…

Mike Thornton’s campaign in full swing

mike thornton david chidgeyThe Lib Dems’ Mike Thornton — pictured here (by Jon Aylwin) with 1994 by-election victor David Chidgey — has been focusing on how the pupil premium, the party’s flagship education policy, has been helping Eastleigh schools:

Lib Dems boost Pupil Premium (Southern Daily Echo)
The policy introduced by the Liberal Democrats has invested £1.7m in Eastleigh schools, and is aimed at ensuring every child has a fair start in life.

Just one of the reasons why volunteer help has been pouring in to help Mike retain the seats for the Lib Dems:

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Baroness Thomas writes… Getting Personal Independence Payments right

This afternoon the Department of Work and Pensions announces a significant change on the new Personal Independent Payments following significant Lib Dem pressure. Celia Thomas, the Lib Dem peer who has campaigned tirelessly on the issue, explains why it’s a major win.

Getting the rules governing Personal Independence Payments right is vital. The new benefit, which will begin to replace Disability Living Allowance later this year, will have a huge effect on disabled people up and down the country.

I’m broadly in favour of the change to PIP, which seeks to clarify the eligibility of disabled people to this benefit, the purpose …

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Nick Clegg’s Letter from the Leader: “Steve Webb’s pension reforms are a great step forward”

Europe might have been the focus for much of the commentariat this week, but there’s no doubt what’s been the most significant domestic news: the Coalition’s reforms of the state pension. And it’s that issue — and Steve Webb’s contribution to it — which is the focus of Nick Clegg’s latest letter: ‘you can tell that Steve Webb has delivered a pension change that makes it worthwhile to save, and simple to prepare for retirement.’

It’s not often (ever?) you’ll find the Lib Dem leader and the Daily Mail’s Quentin Letts on the same page: their admiration for the pensions minister is the exception to the rule.

lib dems pensionsThe party has produced three infographics that are easy to share via Facebook. Nick’s letter doesn’t link to them, or thank the hundreds who’ve already shared the news of this Lib Dem success in government with their friends — so here are the links for those who want to tell their friends of Steve Webb’s success:

libdem letter from nick clegg

This week I want to tell you about my good friend and colleague, Professor Steve Webb.

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LibLink… Steve Webb: A straightforward pension scheme for all

Liberal Democrat Pensions Minister Steve Webb, the man who has already delivered the “triple lock” system for ensuring a decent annual rise in the State Pension, writes in today’s Telegraph about the Coalition’s plans to simplify pension provision and ensure that the basic state pension increases from £107 to £144 from as soon as 2017.

First, he outlined the problems with the complexities of the current system:

In Britain today, we have not one but two state pensions. The first is a basic state pension based on 30 years of National Insurance contributions, with complex rules for people who are divorced or

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Conference: Calm and determined in the face of headwinds

The atmosphere in Brighton was stormy. Not, as journalists would have you believe, inside the hall but on the Brighton seafront.

It had started well. On Saturday, with temperatures soaring into the 20s, delegates debated early years, schools and House of Lords reform – all solid Lib Dem territory. Excellent speeches from a succession of mothers and grandmothers highlighted how childcare costs skew the economics of working, and delegates overwhelmingly backed investment in free early years education when finances allow. Debating Lords reform, Conference endorsed Nick Clegg’s withdrawal of support for constituency boundary changes, and Lord Tyler put forward a popular …

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Opinion: Conference showed Liberal Democrat heart, soul and backbone

I joined the Liberal Democrats in 2009 in the fug of the expenses and media scandals. The media wasn’t giving me a window, just leading me into a maze of distorted mirrors. With a slap to the forehead, it finally dawned on me that democracy is not something we wait to have thrust upon us at an election every 4-5 years, but something which we do. If I wanted to find out what was going on, I would have to go and look for myself. And if I wanted to change any of it, I would have to put my …

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Conference preview: Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday

This year, the Liberal Democrat autumn conference has one day per theme, covering jobs, education, environment and tax.

Monday is jobs, with policy motions on creating jobs and policy papers on both sustainable prosperity and also on mutuals, employee ownership and workplace democracy. The first of these (F23) may generate some lively debate around an amendment that would delete the reference to keeping to the government’s “fiscal mandate”.

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In other news… Teather on pupil premium, State of play for Welsh Lib Dems & other stories

Here’s a round-up of stories we haven’t had time to cover on the site this past few days…

Teather: Pupil premium ‘changing the way schools think’ (BBC)

The Liberal Democrat MP and minister at the Department of Education Sarah Teather, said the policy is about “changing the whole way schools think”. Speaking to The World At One, she said there is a “scandalous gap” between those from poor backgrounds and those from wealthier backgrounds. ” about focusing money on the individual child regardless of where that child is,” she told Martha Kearney. Under the policy, by this September schools in England

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What do we Lib Dems want from a reshuffle?

While the massed ranks of the mostly right-wing political commentariat obsess about the imminent Cabinet reshuffle, Lib Dem interest has been relatively muted.

In one sense this isn’t surprising.

As it stands, 18 of the party’s 57 MPs are on the government payroll, so Nick Clegg has little room for manouevre even among the middle ranks of government. And with only five cabinet positions (four if you exclude Nick himself as Deputy Prime Minister) there’s even less wiggle-room at the top table. Nonetheless, this reshuffle will most likely be …

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LibLink: Steve Webb – I will not hesitate to take action on pension charges

Steve Webb writes in The Telegraph:

Almost 11 million of the adult population are not saving enough for retirement. So if millions of people are not going to get a nasty shock when they retire we need some big changes in the world of pensions. …So what is the truth about pension scheme charges, and what is the Government doing to make sure that people get

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Recent Comments

  • User Avatarmalc 18th Apr - 1:06am
    Thomas Robinson: Fair point and one it's hard to argue with. Also the UK has military base's in Cyprus, Germany, Holland, Gibraltar, Norway etc. Perhaps...
  • User AvatarDavid Allen 18th Apr - 12:56am
    Here's Simon Jenkins's piece: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/apr/16/janus-faced-george-osborne-defied-stereotype-triumphed
  • User AvatarDavid Allen 18th Apr - 12:53am
    The questions about austerity are obsolete. Simon Jenkins has pointed out that Osborne's tough talk is just verbal cover for a policy which includes plenty...
  • User AvatarDavid Allen 18th Apr - 12:46am
    That was Balls and Osborne...
  • User AvatarShirley Campbell 18th Apr - 12:40am
    Yes, David-1, it should: David-1 14th Apr '14 - 10:00pm A horrible device whose possession and use should be illegal. I note that Shami Chakrabarti...
  • User AvatarShirley Campbell 18th Apr - 12:36am
    Yes, David-1, it should: David-1 14th Apr '14 - 10:00pm A horrible device whose possession and use should be illegal. I note that Shami Chakrabarti...