How George Osborne got the Liberal Democrats to agree to an ‘interesting Budget’

15 March 2015 10:33

George Osborne and Ed Balls have just done their pre-Budget interviews with Andrew Marr. The show, though, was dominated by talks of post-election deals rather than the contents of the… Continue reading

(Photo: Shaun Curry/Getty)

The footprint of Britain’s immigrants – and emigrants – is important

26 February 2015 14:46

Half a million people. That’s quite a lot, isn’t it? I mean, half a million here, half a million there, why, soon you’re talking a million, which is even more… Continue reading

Screen Shot 2014-09-29 at 07.26.33

Seven things you need to know about George Osborne’s abolition of the pensions death tax

29 September 2014 7:23

The good news on pensions just keeps on coming. Today, at the Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham, George Osborne will today announce the abolition of the draconian 55 per cent pension death tax. There’ll… Continue reading

Image: Getty

George Osborne’s grey-haired gamble

21 July 2014 9:15

George Osborne has been in retail mode this morning, selling his pension reforms and explaining how pensioners can unlock their life’s savings. The Chancellor has said that the Treasury will… Continue reading

Strikes don't work. (CARL COURT/AFP/Getty Images)

Unions are harming their members’ interests with strikes

11 July 2014 14:15

Industrial relations experts have said that the latest public sector strikes are unlikely to have any impact on government policy. I don’t think you have to be an ‘expert’ to… Continue reading


Generation Y: A jilted generation, or just a bunch of whingers?

19 June 2014 16:50

Generation Y – are they really a jilted generation, or do they have absolutely no reason to be complaining about their lot? This was the question posed at Tuesday night’s… Continue reading

What will Her Majesty read out in tomorrow's speech? Photo: OLI SCARFF/AFP/GettyImages

Pensions, pubs, shale, slavery and recall — what to expect in tomorrow’s Queen Speech

3 June 2014 17:07

The last Queen’s Speech of this Parliament is almost upon us. Will the final session prove right the claims that this is a ‘zombie parliament’? Or can we expect a… Continue reading


You know you’re a European when…

22 May 2014 13:14

Today’s European election is not just a matter of deciding who gets to represent my made-up region in Brussels’ toy town parliament. It is a celebration of our common heritage… Continue reading


Ben Miller solves the pensions crisis – by pilfering from Doctor Who set

9 May 2014 13:03

The new baddie from Doctor Who has come up with a novel solution to private pensions – stealing from the set. Ben Miller, star of the BBC’s Death in Paradise Drama, will… Continue reading

1 Comment
Image: Getty

France – worker’s paradise or Steynian Dystopia?

11 April 2014 14:12

Un autre jour glorieux dans la lutte contre réalité économique. France’s major employers’ federation and two unions have signed an agreement whereby employees not subject to the country’s 35-hour labour… Continue reading

Pensions Minister Steve Webb on the Sunday Politics. Photo: BBC.

Pension reforms are vital to encourage saving. But what about everyone else?

23 March 2014 13:16

‘This reform is about treating people as adults’ — according to the Pensions Minister Steve Webb. The announcement of a pensions revolution in this week’s budget took everyone by surprise,… Continue reading

Only in September of this year will personal financial education become part of the national curriculum. Picture: Getty

Of course Labour doesn’t trust people with their money: the party made little effort to teach them about it

21 March 2014 13:38

Labour’s response to the biggest announcement of the Budget, on pensions reform, was never going to be snappy. It would be unfair to expect an Opposition to deliver an immediate… Continue reading

Image: Getty

It’s time for the state to trust adults with their own money

20 March 2014 15:54

The changes that George Osborne announced to pensions yesterday were so big that there was always going to be a backlash. Sure enough, the IFS and various others have today… Continue reading

(Photo: Leon Neal/AFP/Getty)

Budget 2014: Who benefits from Osborne’s savings revolution?

19 March 2014 16:55

The most obvious beneficiaries of George Osborne’s savings package are pensioners. They now can buy government bonds with an interest rate of 2.8% for an annual bond and an annual… Continue reading

Image: Getty

Budget 2014: Top five announcements

19 March 2014 14:55

The Chancellor has spoken, the opposition leader has blasted the speech, and now the nit-picking begins. But what were the five biggest announcements in today’s Budget? Here’s a guide: 1.… Continue reading


Budget 2014: George Osborne’s pensions revolution

19 March 2014 14:27

This will take a while to sink in – we simply have never seen this before in a Budget. George Osborne has just revolutionised the way pensions work; millions of… Continue reading

Screen Shot 2014-01-05 at 18.57.37

David Cameron dodges questions on pensioner benefits

5 January 2014 18:59

One of the most significant things about David Cameron’s Sunday Times interview today was something he didn’t say. The Prime Minister made maintaining the triple lock for pensions for the… Continue reading

It's time to be realistic about the WFA

It’s time to be realistic about benefits. Wealthy pensioners need to be able to decline theirs

24 August 2013 11:00

Universal pensioner benefits like the Winter Fuel Allowance (WFA) cost the Exchequer over £8 billion a year. This is not a massive sum compared to overall government expenditure but it… Continue reading

Muslims Visit The Largest Mosque In Europe To Listen To Islamic Khalifa's Sermon

Abandon all hope: the average voter thinks one in four Britons is a muslim

9 July 2013 12:29

Last month I wrote a post arguing that an awful lot of opinion polling is worthless. The public mood matters – and measuring it is important – but when it… Continue reading

The 'cap' on AME spending is a bold move, albeit one that might imperil other parts of the government's agenda.

Wriggle room welfare – 6 AME ‘cap’ observations

27 June 2013 15:53

The savings-hungry government has set its sights on welfare-related Annually Managed Expenditure (AME). At £183bn a year – it’s over half of all government AME spending. The state pension is… Continue reading

To be upfront about Labour's plans for borrowing, Ed Balls would have to make a complex argument about 'good' and 'bad' borrowing. Picture: Getty

Ed Balls: Labour will include pensions in its welfare cap

9 June 2013 11:40

Ed Balls has just told Andrew Neil on the Sunday Politics that Labour will include pensions in their welfare cap. This opens up a major dividing line with the Tories… Continue reading

Steve Webb has today announced that a new 'single tier' state pension will be introduced in 2017. Picture: Getty Images

Briefing: Simplifying the state pension

14 January 2013 18:11

There certainly seems to be something to be said for keeping an effective minister in the same post. After two years and eight months in the job, Steve Webb is… Continue reading

The government's pension reforms will end the penalty for stay-at-home mothers. Picture: Getty

Ministers hope pension reforms will calm concerns about stay-at-home mothers

14 January 2013 13:41

Today’s pensions announcement contains an attempt by strategists to reassure those who worry that the government is abandoning the family. One of the gripes from the Tory backbenches about the… Continue reading

Danny Alexander's call for the abolition of higher-rate relief on pension contributions has received the backing of the Centre for Policy Studies. Picture: Getty

Thatcher’s favourite think tank backs Danny Alexander

26 November 2012 18:50

In the run-up to the Budget in March, Danny Alexander was pushing for the abolition of higher-rate relief on pension contributions, which would save the government £7 billion plus a… Continue reading

Image: Getty.

George Osborne, balancing the budget on the backs of the rich

20 November 2012 12:36

George Osborne has a dilemma to answer in his autumn statement (which must be finalised by 28 November, when it will be submitted to the Office of Budget Responsibility). He… Continue reading