Steve Webb: Delivering a simpler, fairer pension system



Steve Webb has delivered a fairer and simpler pensions system.

Steve Webb has delivered a fairer and simpler pensions system.


I am happy with the Coalition’s state pension reforms. They will deliver a single, simple and decent pension for the people of Manchester.By April, the state pension will  £650 more than when Labour were in power. This means the basic state pension is now at its highest share of average earnings since 1992.

The worrying fact is that for many, the state pension is often not enough to live on.  The complicated nature of the current system means people today don’t know what they will get when they retire which discourages them from putting anything aside. People who have contributed, either through paid work or caring or in some other way, should be guaranteed a pension clear of the basic means-test, and one that gives them security in retirement.

The reforms mean,

  • The new single tier pension, which will apply to anyone retiring after 2017, is equivalent to £144 a week. The basic state pension is currently £107.45.
  • For the first time men and women will be treated equally.
  • Self-employed workers will be included fully for the first time.
  • You no longer lose out if you decide to bring up children or become a carer.
  • Every bit of pension people have built up so far will be honoured.

Liberal Democrats have been campaigning for decades to deliver, and in Coalition we are delivering these radical plans so today’s workers can retire on a single, simple, decent pension.”

What other are saying about the plans;

Liberal Democrat Pensions Minister Steve Webb said:

“The current state pension system is fiendishly complex, after seventy years of tinkering by successive governments, and Gordon Brown’s strategy of means-testing has failed those pensioners it was designed to help most.

“We need a simple, single state pension, set above the basic means test, which enables everyone to work towards a decent income in retirement and encourages more peoples to save for their old age.”


Joanne Segars, Chief Executive, National Association of Pension Funds said:
“Today’s announcement for a simpler, more generous state pension is a much-needed shake-up that will ultimately help millions of pensioners and savers. For the first time in a generation, people will know that it pays to save, and that whatever they put aside won’t be eroded by means-testing when they retire.”

Dr Ros Altmann, Director-General of the Saga Group and pensions expert said:
“Such radical state pension reform is long overdue and it will be a huge step forward to have a single, flat-rate state pension, without mass means-testing in future.  This will make it safer to save, which is essential as auto-enrolement extends across the workforce.”

7 responses to “Steve Webb: Delivering a simpler, fairer pension system

  1. Pity though that existing pensioners are being left out. They will have to struggle on with low pensions and will be even more worse off by loosing all the “add ons” currently offered once the new pensions come into operation. It will result in 2 tier pensioners.

  2. It’s all very well to say that these proposals will provide a better basic pension than Labour did, but the fact is, as the National Pensioners Convention points out, that £144 a week is still much less than the poverty level of income of £167 a week.
    The Institute of Fiscal Studies says that “The main effect in the long run will be to reduce pensions for the vast majority of people”.
    The White Paper itself says that 14% of pensioners will be worse off by more than £2 a week and this will rise to 43% by 2050 and a majority by 2060.
    Lets be right about it Steve Webb used to be a good guy but the luxury of power has required him, just like the rest of the Lib Dems to be a cover for the Tories.
    We will have a partly privatised pension scheme. Come back Barbara Castle. The last MP to provide a half decent pension scheme and honesty.

    • Sam

      I’d thought you would have welcomed less means-testing, equality under the system for women, protection for the self employed and the lowest paid.


  3. As someone due to retire in 2 years time I am appalled that I, like existing pensioners will not get this new flat rate pension. What is the rationale for this?

    • William,

      I don’t know your circumstances, but any pension rights you have built up under the current system will be honoured. I would like to see the reforms come in earlier, and accept that the system we inherited is over complicated, but ministers have advised me that this change over period is needed.


  4. Yes John I welcome less means testing, equality for women, proper protection for self employed, the lower paid and gay people, but these are modern standards that I would have expected any civilised government to implement. Not something that we should expect to tug our forelocks for. For the past 30 years, governments have ignored the massive increase in the productivity of our society and allowed the wealthiest to appropriate the main part of it while suggesting that the wealth will trickle down . It hasn’t happened but the bankers made fortunes and the economy was boosted unreasonably out of the massive growth in personal debt. Lets ahve payback time and a decent pension system.

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