Spotlight on Steve Webb
The pensions minister will be giving the keynote address at Workplace Pensions Live
This year, Steve Webb became the longest serving minister of state for pensions since the post was created in 1997. The record partly reflects the short tenures enjoyed his Labour predecessors, but also Webb’s own commitment to the post.
Webb followed up the implementation of auto-enrolment in October with the launch of his ‘Reinvigorating Workplace Pensions’ white paper, which fleshed out to mixed reviews his ideas on a new third way form of pension provision, which he calls ‘defined ambition’.
Webb spoke to Pensions Insight in September a week after he found out he had retained the pension portfolio in the government reshuffle.
“I was delighted to stay in what I’m doing, I didn’t want to be minister for fisheries so that’s great. Pensions are for the long term so a bit of continuity is hopefully good news for savers and the industry. What was great was the secretary of state staying in place, he’s been a great supporter and we have worked closely together on state pension reform and auto-enrolment.”
“I’ve sought to foster consensus where possible. You don’t want to change government and see another change of pension policy. Politics is politics so if you are in opposition you are going to look for dividing lines so it’s pointless to pretend that’s not going to happen. Gregg McClymont is a decent and thoughtful guy so I’m happy to work with him on things where we can.”
“Nobody knows for sure what the rate of people staying in (to auto-enrolment) will be, but we think it will be anything between 6 and 9 million saving more or saving for the first time.
Frankly if those are the kind of numbers we are talking, that will be a triumph. You can think of few policies that government puts in place that will have such a profound impact on so many people.”
“If we are reaching a mass market of people who have never saved before and have never had a pension and bringing them into good quality, low-cost schemes, then everybody who has been involved with this, including the previous government, can be proud.”