Ministers at odds over state pension
Donald Macintyre writes political sketches for The Independent, having been Jerusalem correspondent since 2004, covering Israel and the Occupied Territories, as well as travelling for the paper to Iraq, Turkey, Jordan, Libya and Egypt. As Political Editor and then Chief Political Commentator, he previously covered the John Major and early Tony Blair era. He has written for the Daily Express, Sunday Times, Times and Sunday Telegraph, and Sunday Correspondent. He is the author of Mandelson and the Making of New Labour (2000).
Wednesday 08 December 1993
Mr Portillo's remark, in a BBC TV interview, threatened to revive the conflict over the welfare state, after signs the Cabinet was retreating from a programme of wholesale reform to the system.
Although Mr Portillo stopped short of reviving suggestions that people might in future opt out of the state pension, the tone of his remarks was in sharp contrast to those of Kenneth Clarke, the Chancellor, last week.
Mr Clarke told reporters last Wednesday that he envisaged the old age pension as an 'inevitable key part' of the welfare state. He said he did not see it as being opted out of, or left as a 'vestigial remain' for those who could not make provision for themselves.
Mr Clarke had earlier warned Cabinet colleagues against fuelling fears of a big shake-up of the welfare state, and to tone down talks of people opting out of benefits.
At the weekend, Peter Lilley, a fellow right winger of Mr Portillo's, said he did not envisage the state pension being restricted to 'part of the population'. Mr Portillo was asked by the Westminster Live programme whether an earlier statement of his about people under 40 not being able to rely on the state to look after them in retirement was compatible with Mr Lilley's weekend remarks. He said: 'The two are not incompatible. My worry about the state pension is that it is going to be a nugatory amount in the coming century.'
Mr Portillo said this was because earnings were rising 'so much faster' than prices. He added: 'We can only afford to increase pensions, I believe, in line with prices, because there are going to be so many more pensioners in the 21st century.
'So, if we keep increasing the pension in line with prices, and people's earnings rise much faster, then the pension is not going to replace the value of those earnings.'
He added: 'That was my warning. You can't rely on the state pension to keep you living in the style you have been used to. Therefore people need to make provision for themselves beyond the state system for their retirements.'
Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes
- 2 Loom bands: Bids for dress made from colourful rubber pass £170,000 on eBay
- 3 Why I'm on the brink of burning my Israeli passport
- 4 L'Oreal cuts ties with Belgium supporter Axelle Despiegelaere after hunting trip photographs
- 5 The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week
Game of Thrones author George RR Martin says 'f*** you' to fans who fear he will die before finishing Westeros saga
Loom bands: Bids for dress made from colourful rubber pass £170,000 on eBay
Supermoon 2014: When and why will the moon look bigger and brighter this summer?
Gaza-Israel conflict: The terrible price Palestinian children are paying for Israel’s war with Hamas
Iraq crisis: Government forces execute 255 Sunni prisoners in revenge for Isis atrocities, says report
Sustained immigration has not harmed Britons' employment, say government advisers
War is war: Why I stand with Israel
7/7 memorial defaced on anniversary of 2005 attacks with ‘Blair lied thousands died’ graffiti
Australia facing international condemnation after turning around Sri Lankans at sea
Even when it brutalises one of its own teenage citizens, America is helpless against Israel
Socialist Worker called to apologise over ‘vile’ article saying Eton schoolboy Horatio Chapple's death is ‘reason to save the polar bears’
£70000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Information Security Manager (ISO 27001, A...
£30000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Developer (...
£60000 - £80000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Integration...
£75000 - £85000 per annum + ex bens: Deerfoot IT Resources Limited: Biztalk Te...