Steve Webb

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Sir Steve Webb
Steve Webb MP.jpg
Minister of State for Pensions
In office
12 May 2010 – 8 May 2015
Prime MinisterDavid Cameron
Preceded byAngela Eagle
Succeeded byBaroness Altmann
Member of Parliament
for Thornbury and Yate
Northavon (1997–2010)
In office
1 May 1997 – 30 March 2015
Preceded byJohn Cope
Succeeded byLuke Hall
Majority7,116 (14.8%)
Personal details
Born (1965-07-18) 18 July 1965 (age 55)
Birmingham, Warwickshire, England
Political partyLiberal Democrats
Spouse(s)Helen, Lady Webb
Alma materHertford College, Oxford

Sir Steven John Webb PC (born 18 July 1965) is a British pensions commentator who was previously Liberal Democrat Member of Parliament (MP) for Northavon, 19972010 and for Thornbury and Yate, 20102015. He was the Minister of State for Pensions in the coalition government of David Cameron.


Webb was born in Birmingham to Brian and Patricia Webb, and attended the local comprehensive school, Dartmouth High School, before going on to study Philosophy, Politics and Economics at Hertford College, Oxford. He then worked at the Institute for Fiscal Studies in London, where he specialised in researching into poverty, taxes and benefits. In 1995, he became a Professor of Social Policy at the University of Bath.

Political career[edit]

At the 1997 General Election Webb was elected as MP for Northavon, just north of Bristol, overturning a Conservative majority of over 11,000. He increased a 2,137 majority to 9,877 in the 2001 Election and again to 11,033 in the 2005 Election.

In 2001, Webb was promoted by Charles Kennedy to lead spokesman for the Liberal Democrats on Work and Pensions, a portfolio he had worked in since 1999. He continued in this position until being appointed as Liberal Democrat Health spokesman in 2005. At the end of 2006, he started a new role co-ordinating the party's manifesto for the next general election. In the first reshuffle after the leadership election, he was appointed Liberal Democrat Environment, Energy, Food and Rural Affairs spokesman. Following Gordon Brown's reshuffle in October 2008, he shadowed Ed Miliband in the newly formed Department for Energy and Climate Change. On 8 January 2009 Nick Clegg announced his "General Election Team" and an "economic recovery group" with Webb appointed as Work and Pensions spokesman.[1]

Webb was also a member of the cross-party Christians in Parliament and vice-president of the Liberal Democrat Christian Forum.[2]

Webb was one of the first MPs to have a blog and a website, and in 2004 his website, which made use of SMS technology, was commended in the New Statesman New Media Awards and, in February 2005, led him to win the inaugural Hansard Society E-Democracy Award. He also recognised the emerging potential of online social networks by joining MySpace and Facebook, two of the biggest. He is one of the contributors to the Orange Book (2004) and is the author of a chapter in The Future of the NHS.[3]

Given his increasing profile and popularity within the party due to his role as the manifesto chair, he was seen as a probable candidate for the social liberal grouping's vote in the future leadership election. Simon Hughes had been the previous standard bearer in the leadership elections in 1999 and 2006. On 17 October 2007 the website Bloggers4Steve announced that Webb had received enough nominations from MPs to run. Despite this, on 18 October Webb announced he was not running and would be backing Nick Clegg for leader.[4]

At the 2010 general election, the constituency of Northavon was split into two new constituencies. Subsequently, Steve Webb was elected for the new Thornbury and Yate constituency which covers most of the ground originally covered by Northavon.

In a letter dated 12 April 2010,[5] Webb said on behalf of the Liberal Democrats: "We are very clear that all accrued rights should be honoured: a pension promise made should be a pension promise kept. Therefore we would not make any changes to pension rights that have already been built up. I have confirmed that I regard accrued index-linked rights as protected." However in July 2010, as the Coalition Minister for Works and Pensions, Webb announced plans to link private sector pension payments to the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) instead of the Retail Prices Index (RPI), which would reduce the value of fully accrued index-linked pensions.[6][7]

As Pensions Minister in the Coalition Government Steve Webb led major changes to the pensions system. The pensions 'triple-lock' guarantees that the state pension rises each year by the highest of inflation, earnings or 2.5%. One year this resulted in the highest ever cash increase in the state pension and saw pensioners receiving the full state pension £380 per year better off.

In Autumn 2012 auto-enrolment was introduced for large businesses in the UK, being rolled out to smaller businesses over the next 4 years. Auto-enrolment automatically enrols employees into a contributory pension scheme, unless they opt out. Estimates suggest that 600,000 people were auto-enrolled by the end of 2013[8] and that by 2014, £11M per year would be added to the total UK investment in pensions,[9]

Webb attracted media attention in March 2014, when he remarked in a television interview that due to the coalition government's pension reforms, he was relaxed if pensioners wanted to spend their savings on a Lamborghini.[10][11]

In the May 2015 General Election he lost his seat to the Conservative Luke Hall.

Webb was knighted in the 2017 New Year Honours.[12]

In August 2015 it was announced Webb was becoming director of policy and external communications at the financial services mutual Royal London. Parliamentary rules prevent Webb from direct political lobbying for the first two years.[13]In 2020, Webb left Royal London to take up a partner role at the consultancy Lane Clark and Peacock.[14]


On 10 July 1993, Steve Webb married Helen, a curate at his local church in Clapham. A year later, the couple moved to Bristol; they have two children.


  1. ^ Clegg reveals Liberal Democrat General Election Team Liberal Democrat official website. Retrieved on 14 January 2009.
  2. ^ Liberal Democrat Christian Forum Official Website
  3. ^ Tempest, Michelle (2006). The Future of the NHS. ISBN 1-85811-369-5. Retrieved 13 October 2015.
  4. ^ Clegg picking up Lib Dem backers, BBC News Online, 18 October 2007
  5. ^ "Index-Linking of Public Sector Pensions". Retrieved 17 February 2011.
  6. ^ CPI versus RPI: impact on pensions? Punter Southall Briefing Note
  7. ^ Pension changes could cost 11m Britons thousands of pounds The Guardian 20 Feb 2017
  8. ^ Peachey, Kevin (8 August 2013). "Q&A: Pension automatic enrolment". BBC. Retrieved 18 April 2015.
  9. ^ "Steve Webb, pensions Minister". Business Life Magazine. 20 May 2014. Retrieved 18 April 2015.
  10. ^ Peter Dominiczak, Assistant Political Editor (20 March 2014). "Budget 2014: 'Pensioners should be free to buy Lamborghini,' says minister". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 14 May 2015.
  11. ^ Nicholas Watt & Larry Elliott (20 March 2014). "Pension pots 'can be used to buy Lamborghinis', says minister". The Guardian. Retrieved 14 May 2015.
  12. ^ "No. 61803". The London Gazette (Supplement). 31 December 2016. p. N2.
  13. ^ Marion Dakers (12 August 2015). "Former pensions minister Webb joins Royal London". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 12 August 2015.
  14. ^

External links[edit]

News items
Video clips
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
John Cope
Member of Parliament
for Northavon

Succeeded by
Constituency Abolished
Preceded by
Constituency Created
Member of Parliament
for Thornbury and Yate

Succeeded by
Luke Hall
Political offices
Preceded by
Angela Eagle
Minister of State for Pensions
Succeeded by
Baroness Altmann