Author Archives: Steve Webb MP

Steve Webb writes… Lib Dems will write the pensions ‘triple lock’ guarantee into law

webb 01For decades, successive Labour and Conservative governments allowed the state pension to decline after Margaret Thatcher broke the ‘earnings link’ in 1980. The nadir of this was in the Labour years, when Gordon Brown increased the state pension by just 75p a week.

I was determined that the Liberal Democrats would do something about this appalling situation. In our manifesto in 2010 we campaigned on a ‘triple lock’ guarantee. This was a commitment that the pension would rise by whichever rating was highest in each year – by earnings, prices …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , and | 24 Comments

Steve Webb MP writes…Tackling rip-offs, standing up for savers

SavingsEarlier today, I had the pleasure of announcing in the House of Commons a raft of new measures designed to make sure that when people save for a pension they get value for money.

One of the Coalition’s most successful policies, for which I have had lead responsibility, is the introduction of ‘automatic enrolment’ into workplace pensions.   Starting with the biggest firms in October 2012, and reaching the smallest ones by 2017, employers now have a legal duty to put their workers in a pension scheme and to make an employer …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 15 Comments

Steve Webb writes… 2 Millionth Person auto enrolled into a workplace pension

Today, the latest figures for the number of people placed into a workplace pension have been announced, and I am delighted to say that the 2 millionth person has now been auto enrolled into a pension.

It is essential that workers are encouraged to save towards their retirement, if they wish to maintain a standard of living comparable to what they have grown accustomed to whilst earning a wage. In the year leading up to the start of the scheme, across the private sector, only one worker out of three had any pension at all from their job – and …

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Steve Webb MP writes… A truly radical pensions reform

As LDV readers will no doubt be aware, this year marks the 105th birthday of the 1908 Old-Age Pensions Act. Through this Act, Lloyd George introduced the first state pension to Britain, providing 5 shillings (£0.25) a week for those over 70. Fast forward nearly forty years to another great Liberal, William Beveridge, and the National Insurance Act of 1946 that gave birth to the modern state pension. Beveridge’s original idea was for a single, simple, decent state pension, paid after a lifetime of National Insurance Contributions and not subject to a means-test.

Beveridge’s principles have been subject to a sort …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 28 Comments

Steve Webb’s speech to the Liberal Democrat conference

The other day, someone came up to me and said:

“Steve, you’re an above-average pensions minister!”

In a world where praise can be a bit hard to come by, I took that as a compliment.

But he quickly said:

“No, I didn’t mean that you’re good at your job, I meant you’ve survived longer than most pension ministers!”

And when I inquired, I found out that I was, indeed, the 11th different pensions minister in the last 14 years.

So it is hardly suprising that pensions policy has been a bit piecemeal and messy over the years.

Every change with the best of intentions, but put it …

Posted in Conference | Tagged and | 5 Comments

Steve Webb writes: working for pensioners, now and in the future

When I was appointed Pensions Minister last May my first priority was protecting current pensioners. It was widely assumed that the spending review would see cuts to a range of forms of help that pensioners receive. But despite the spending pressures, the budgets for bus passes, free television licences, free prescriptions and the Winter Fuel Allowance have been protected at the level set out by the previous government. Better still, where Labour had planned to cut Cold Weather Payments to £8.50 per week we have made them £25 permanently to protect the most vulnerable when the temperature is below …

Posted in Op-eds and Parliament | Tagged , , , , and | 29 Comments

Steve Webb MP writes: Making welfare work

As a Lib Dem Minister at the Department for Work and Pensions, I thought it would be helpful to comment on the Welfare Reform Bill published today.

I wrote in November that there is much in the Bill that we as a party should welcome. The Universal Credit sits comfortably with our own policy to introduce a single working-age benefit to replace the current nightmarishly complex system.

Today’s Bill lays a framework for a radical improvement in the way welfare works in this country. It will be simpler, clearer, and will target resources at those who need it most …

Posted in News | Tagged | 15 Comments

Steve Webb writes… Why Liberal Democrats should welcome the welfare reforms

Many Liberal Democrats may be wondering what to make of last week’s announcement by Iain Duncan Smith to replace a whole raft of working-age welfare benefits with a Universal Credit. As a Lib Dem Minister at the DWP, I thought it would be helpful to offer my perspective.

As a party we have long talked about integrating the tax and benefits system. As a first step, we surely need to integrate the benefits system with itself. The Universal Credit approach sits comfortably with our own policy to introduce a single working-age benefit, and will provide a basic allowance topped up by additional elements …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 64 Comments

“Ten Green Bloggers sitting in a Room”

Last Monday, 2nd June, a group of ‘ten green bloggers’ assembled in my office at Westminster to plan to take over the universe. Or if not that, perhaps at least to save the planet.

I have been aware for some time that the Lib Dems’ Facebook campaign on getting the Climate Change Bill toughened up hasn’t really caught fire in the way that I hoped. So I was delighted to be able to bring together a cross-party group of people who share the same commitment to the environment, but also have expertise online / in communications, or who are well …

Posted in Online politics | Tagged | 74 Comments

Climate change campaign update

Just under a week ago we launched our “60% is not enough” climate change campaign on Facebook. A bit of background to the campaign is in my post from last weekend.

We’ve already had a fantastic response, with over 700 people signing up as ‘fans’ and the number is rising hour by hour. If you are on Facebook (or want to sign up) and want to back the campaign, you can visit

One of the goals of the site is to identify which MPs would support an amendment to the Climate Change Bill to replace the 60% CO2 cuts …

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Climate change: 60% is not enough

We are at a crucial stage in the Parliamentary process for campaigners who want to see the UK sign up to realistic targets on climate change, and a new Facebook campaign has been launched to muster support.

The Government’s Climate Change Bill, which proposes a statutory target of a 60% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2050, is currently being considered by the House of Lords. Most environmental campaigners, leading scientists and even the Prime Minister, seem to accept that 60% is likely to be too little, too late.

The Liberal Democrats are therefore arguing that the Bill should be amended to give a statutory target of 80%, and we are seeking to build a coalition of MPs of all parties who share our concern in order to get the Bill amended when MPs consider it later in the Spring.

Posted in Online politics and Op-eds | Tagged | 2 Comments

Opinion: the case against new nukes

This week’s announcement by John Hutton of a new generation of nuclear power plants sparked some lively exchanges in the House of Commons. Following my observations, the Secretary of State offered me a bold print version ‘to help me understand it’, and said the best emissions to cut down would be the ones from my mouth! So a good consensual start then…

Given that opinions vary considerably both between parties and within our party about new nuclear, I thought it might be helpful to offer a bit of background to our judgment that new nuclear plants are not what we need …

Posted in Op-eds | 8 Comments

Who are the most popular Liberal Democrat MPs on Facebook?

Following on from my review of the uses MPs are making of Facebook, here’s the top ten listing of Liberal Democrat MPs, based on how many friends they have:

  1. Ming Campbell
  2. Steve Webb
  3. Jo Swinson
  4. Lembit Opik
  5. Stephen Williams
  6. Lynne Featherstone
  7. Julia Goldsworthy
  8. Willie Rennie
  9. Sarah Teather
  10. Chris Huhne

(Rankings are based on number of friends in their official profiles on Facebook, as at 30 July 2007)

Posted in Online politics | Tagged | 12 Comments

Liberal Democrat MPs lead the way on Facebook

With Facebook apparently reaching into every corner of British life, I thought it was time to see how far MPs were catching on.

So I’ve worked with a couple of colleagues to look up over 600 MPs from the Labour, Conservative and Liberal Democrat parties (excluding the Speaker and Deputy Speakers) to see how many have Facebook profiles.

Posted in Online politics | Tagged | 13 Comments

Recent Comments

  • John Waller
    Thank you, William. Tom Arms offered us Warfare or Welfare. Hopefully our larger body of MPs will push the new government hard to analyse the causes of th...
  • Jenny Barnes
    Godalming & Ash :)) and my little legs are all worn down from delivering hundreds of leaflets. The local Town Fair had a lib dem event for children : H...
  • Mick Taylor
    @PeterMartin. Uncritical support of the EU??? Not at all. Liberals all over the EU are very critical of the EU and want to make a lot of changes. I'm sure they'...
  • Alex Macfie
    @Peter Martin: No-one was saying that at all, except maybe @Adam who is relying on BtL comments on news articles which cannot be taken as representative of anyt...
  • Peter Martin
    @ Chris, Adam and David, So can we all agree (except perhaps Alex ) that being in favour of the EU does require uncritical support? This is a big problem...