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.'
New essay by JK Rowling went live on Pottermore site on Friday
New UK station Russia Today gives a very bizarre view of Britain
- 1 'Nasa Confirms Six Days of Darkness in December': No, they don't - it's a hoax
- 2 Canadian actor punched in face after 'Islamophobia' experiment goes wrong in wake of Ottawa shooting
- 3 Woman blinded as a child can see again after hitting her head on a coffee table
- 4 Paul Hollywood: Police asked if I wanted them to arrest Mary Berry for vandalism after she 'defaced' my car
- 5 If you think Russell Brand’s new book is confused, you should read what his critics have to say about it
'Nasa Confirms Six Days of Darkness in December': No, they don't - it's a hoax
Tower of London poppies: Tens of thousands of people flock to see installation in its final days
Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson criticised for beer tweet
Woman blinded as a child can see again after hitting her head on a coffee table
Bryan Adams' heartstopping images of wounded British soldiers to go on show at Somerset House
Pope Francis declares evolution and Big Bang theory are real and God is not 'a magician with a magic wand'
Huge surge in Ukip support after EU funding row, according to new poll
Ukip ‘exploiting grooming scandal’ to secure party’s first police chief
Nigel Farage: 'There’s nothing wrong with white people blacking up'
Maureen Lipman says 'she can't vote Labour while Ed Miliband is leader'
Muslims, immigration and teenage pregnancy: British people are ignorant about almost everything
£40000 - £65000 per annum + bonus + benefits + OT: Ampersand Consulting LLP: M...
£22800 - £33600 per annum: Randstad Education Manchester Secondary: The JobAt ...
£22800 - £33600 per annum: Randstad Education Manchester Secondary: Calling al...
£100 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: EYFS Teachers - East Essex...