Steven John Webb, better known as Steve Webb (born 18 July 1965), is an English Liberal Democrat politician. He is the Member of Parliament for Thornbury & Yate and the Minister of State for Pensions.
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.
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.
Webb is one of the growing number of MPs to have a blog and a website, and in 2004 his website, which makes 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 has also recognised the emerging potential of online social utility 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 (2006) (ISBN 1-85811-369-5) edited by Michelle Tempest.
At the 2010 general election, the constituency of Northavon was split into two new constituencies. Subsequently, Steve Webb was elected for the new Thornbury & Yate constituency which covers most of the ground originally covered by Northavon.
In a letter dated 12 April 2010, 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, as the Coalition Minister for Works and Pensions, Webb has championed a change which is almost certain to reduce the value of millions of fully accrued index-linked pensions.
As Pensions Minister in the Coalition Government Steve Webb has 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 sees pensioners receiving the full state pension £380 per year better off than under Labour.
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. As a result of this reform the number of people enroled in contributory pension schemes has increased by over 1 million.
During April 2011, he unveiled his pensions plan, which involved the merging of the two main pensions; creating a fairer single tier pension.
On 10 July 1993, Steve Webb married Helen Edwards, then a curate at his local church in Clapham. A year later, the couple moved to Bristol, where they remain today. The couple have two children: a daughter was born in December 1995 and a son followed in May 1998.
Leadership election 2007
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 has 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.
- Gray, Sadie. The Times http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/faith/article3913720.ece
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- Clegg reveals Liberal Democrat General Election Team Liberal Democrat official website. Retrieved on 14 January 2009.
- Liberal Democrat Christian Forum Official Website
- "Index-Linking of Public Sector Pensions". Retrieved 17 February 2011.
- "The move from RPI to CPI". Retrieved 17 February 2011.
- Clegg picking up Lib Dem backers, BBC News Online, 18 October 2007
- Steve Webb MP official site
- The Webb Log Steve Webb's blog
- Profile at the Liberal Democrats
- Profile at Parliament of the United Kingdom
- Contributions in Parliament at Hansard 1803–2005
- Current session contributions in Parliament at Hansard
- Electoral history and profile at The Guardian
- Voting record at Public Whip
- Record in Parliament at TheyWorkForYou
- Profile at Westminster Parliamentary Record
- Profile at BBC News Democracy Live
- Articles authored at Journalisted
- Profile: Steve Webb BBC News, 17 October 2007
- Profile on Facebook
- Profile on MySpace
- Liberal Democrat Manifesto Consultation
- Department for Work and Pensions website
- News items
- Pensions and women in October 2002
- Pensions in November 2002
- Arguing with Liberal's view on pornography in March 2004
- Civil servants viewing pornography in August 2004
- NHS dentists in September 2005
- Open prisons in February 2006
- Fries to go in April 2006
- Cameron ministerial appointment in May 2010
- Video clips
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Thornbury and Yate