Tag Archives: steve webb

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. …

Posted in News | Also tagged , , and | 11 Comments

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 …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , , , , , , , and | 13 Comments

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 …

Posted in News | Also tagged , , , , , , , , , and | 70 Comments

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 …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , , , and | 25 Comments

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

Posted in Humour | Also tagged | 5 Comments

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 …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 42 Comments

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:

Posted in News and Parliamentary by-elections | Also tagged , , , , , , , , and | 12 Comments

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 …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , and | 15 Comments

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.

Posted in News | Also tagged , and | 3 Comments

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

Posted in LibLink | Also tagged and | 4 Comments

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 …

Posted in Conference and Op-eds | Also tagged , , and | 5 Comments

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 …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 17 Comments

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”.

Posted in Conference | Also tagged , , , , and | 2 Comments

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

Posted in News | Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , and | 2 Comments

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 …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , , , , , and | 39 Comments

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

Posted in LibLink | Also tagged | 5 Comments

Steve Webb challenges pension industry to provide ‘money-safe’ pension scheme

Steve Webb, the pensions minister, is addressing pension executives today and will be challenging them to provide a money-back guarantee to everyone who will be saving for their pensions through a new workplace defined contributions plan. This kind of scheme would ensure that people get back, as a minimum, the value of the contributions they have paid in.

This is one of several proposals which will be consulted on later in the year. Other ideas include collective risk sharing, which allows pension companies to pool their accounts and share the investment …

Posted in News | Also tagged | 7 Comments

Liberal Democrats deliver fair pensions for women

So, here it is in the Guardian, the paper that’s been so critical of the Coalition in general and the Lib Dems in particular, these past two years. The announcement that many of us have wanted to see for as long as we’ve been politically active. That women who take time out of the labour market to care for children or sick relatives will not be penalised in their old age.

This is an example of the Coalition delivering a major benefit to mainly women.  And although it’s Iain Duncan Smith who’s quoted in the article, make no mistake, it’s Liberal …

Posted in News | Also tagged , and | 18 Comments

Stephen Lloyd MP writes… £140 a week for every pensioner – sound familiar?

There’s no need to adjust your screens, it is true; we’re on the way to introducing a flat rate pension for all of £140 a week. You might be thinking you’ve heard this before; well you’re not wrong, except in opposition we used to call it the ‘Citizens Pension’.

We are on the verge of delivering on another key manifesto promise after the Chancellor announced in yesterday’s budget the coalition’s intention to give pensioners £140 a week. While this morning’s headlines are heavily slanted to the reduction of the 50% tax rate, and the ‘granny tax’, nestled away inside …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 20 Comments

My Bob and the Granny Tax

My dear husband is not a Granny. And he’d better not be a Grandad for a very long time to come, given that our daughter is not yet a teenager. He is of an age to be affected by the so called “Granny Tax” eventually.

Now, you might, if you wish, feel a bit of sympathy for poor Bob. It must feel sometimes like George Osborne has pulled his name out of a hat and decided just to chip away at his income.

First he decided that in the year Bob reaches 65, the State Pension age will go up to 66 …

Posted in News | Also tagged , and | 40 Comments

Danny Alexander MP writes… Liberal Democrat budget victory for “further faster” tax campaign

Over 20 million working people will be better off next year after Liberal Democrats in the Coalition Government delivered the biggest ever increase in the income tax personal allowance in the Budget.

The increase of £1,100 is worth £220 to 21 million working people – taking the total income tax cut for working people delivered over 3 years by the coalition to nearly £550 a year. Two million people will pay no income tax at all. By going ‘further and faster’ as Nick Clegg promised, we’re getting real help to millions of hard-pressed people at a time when they need …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , , , and | 53 Comments

Jenny Willott MP writes… Protecting a lifeline – Lib Dem success in battle for DLA Mobility Component

With all the headlines and discussion this week about the Autumn Statement and public sector strikes, people would have been forgiven for missing an announcement from the Minister for Disabled People, Maria Miller MP, that proves once again the Lib Dem influence in Government, and fulfilling yet another Conference motion.

Maria Miller has today announced that the Government is dropping the proposals to remove the Mobility Component of Disability Living Allowance (DLA) from people in residential care homes.

The reversal answers the calls our Party made last Spring in Liverpool, where we passed a motion calling for the plan to be dropped. …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , and | 12 Comments

LibLink | Steve Webb fears poor rap for pensions

FTAdvisor.com reports:

Steve Webb MP has raised fears about pensions’ poor image and how low interest rates and quantitative easing have damaged annuities. The Pensions Minister, who said the government is going to use employers to promote pensions and auto-enrolment, described auto-enrolment as being like a Ming vase – “very precious, but very fragile”.

He added he wants to change perceptions and instil confidence in retirement planning to ensure that charges are not too high and that pensions offer value for money. He said: “We need to move from a system that’s fiendishly complicated, that still leaves millions of pensioners living in poverty, to one, ideally, where we have a single, simple, decent state pension on which people can build.” …

He also said quantitative easing has damaged pensions. When asked about concerns over annuity risk given low interest rates and quantitative easing, the Minister admitted to “an issue about volatility, not knowing what you are going to get and an issue about poor returns.”

You can see Steve’s interview with Saga’s Director-General Ros Altmann below:

Posted in LibLink and YouTube | Also tagged , and | Leave a comment

“The best pensions minister we have had in a generation”

I think you can guess who this quote is about… but here is what Andrew Hilton wrote in the Evening Standard this week:

is the best pensions minister we have had in a generation.

Hat-tip: Vote Clegg, Get Clegg

Posted in News | Also tagged | 1 Comment

Jenny Willott MP writes: 18 months and over a Billion pounds – Lib Dem victory on Women’s State Pension Age

The UK is getting older. In 1970 a person reaching 60 could expect to live a further 18 years. Last year, this had become 28 years. Advances in healthcare, living standards and technology mean that people are living longer and life expectancy is rapidly increasing.

That is why the Government took the decision to bring forward planned increases in the State Pension Age. As I’ve said on Lib Dem Voice before, it is absolutely right for the Government to do this. It’s not a nice decision but doing nothing would risk plunging future pensioners into poverty with less and less …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 12 Comments

The most striking statistic from Liberal Democrat conference

Steve Webb, speaking to Lib Dem conference:

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

Posted in Conference | Also tagged | 2 Comments

Liberal Democrats Conference round-up and preview: Tuesday/Wednesday

What happened on Tuesday in Birmingham at Liberal Democrat conference and what to watch out for today, Wednesday:

Posted in Conference | Also tagged and | Leave a comment

Liberal Democrats Conference round-up and preview: Monday/Tuesday

What happened on Monday in Birmingham at Liberal Democrat conference and what to watch out for today, Tuesday:

Posted in Conference | Also tagged and | 1 Comment

LibLink: Rennard and Webb in the Saturday papers

A double dose of LibLink love with two pieces to highlight.

First, an op-ed from (Lord) Chris Rennard for The Guardian with a lesson from history for the Liberal Democrats:

leaves the Liberal Democrats shaken by the drop in poll support but not entirely surprised by it. My view is that the drop in support should not be regarded as inevitable on polling day in 2015. In December 1996, the Lib Dems were suffering from too close an association with Labour and a poll rating below 10%. Analysis of the new parliamentary boundaries showed that the Lib Dems were down to

Posted in LibLink | Also tagged | 1 Comment

Interview with Mike Moore MP – Action in Government, ideas for the future

Interview: Mike Moore MP –  Action in Government,  ideas for the future

It can’t be much fun being Alex Salmond these days.  The euphoria of May has subsided, and he’s  realised that there’s nobody else to blame for his majority Government’s actions.  On top of that, wherever he looks, he sees the grin of Wilie Rennie,  ready to highlight any example of anglophobia, of  dodging , delaying, ducking and diving. The Scottish Liberal Democrat leader has had accolade after accolade in the press for providing such high quality opposition to the SNP …

Posted in Op-eds and Scotland | Also tagged , , and | 5 Comments
Advert



Recent Comments

  • User AvatarJohn Marriott 19th Oct - 10:52am
    @Peter Hayes Answer to your question: by having an ID Card. And WHY NOT?
  • User AvatarRoger Lake 19th Oct - 10:51am
    Some readers may have suspected, rightly, that I am about to warn that the Green party already has the blessed "UBI" (Universal Basic Income) in...
  • User AvatarRoger Lake 19th Oct - 10:48am
    Thank you, Jeremy, for your interesting introduction to the business of completing a manifesto. This one must be particularly problematic, because of the extreme difficulty...
  • User AvatarPaul Walter 19th Oct - 9:34am
    This morning in the Commons, it’s as if the whole UK nation is being shaken up like a snow globe. We’ll see where all the...
  • User AvatarGeorge Kendall 19th Oct - 9:28am
    Personally, if there's no amendment in the name of Jeremy Corbyn, I'm not going to criticise him. He's played a lot of games to try...
  • User AvatarRichard Underhill 19th Oct - 9:28am
    Spending cuts and technological changes had demoralised the Navy which Dr. Owen MP might have known from his constituency in Plymouth Devonport. To address their...