Big hike planned in value of state pensions ‘ludicrous’, says former Tory Treasury minister – UK politics live | Politics

Big hike planned in value of state pensions ‘ludicrous’, says former Tory Treasury minister

Good morning. The latest inflation figures have come out, and they show the headline rate of inflation reached 9.1% in May, the highest figure for 40 years. My colleague Julia Kollewe has more details on the business live blog.

Rising inflation makes it harder for the government to explain why rail workers – and, indeed, almost everyone else – are expected to put up with pay rises worth less than the value of inflation (ie, a real-terms cut). This question was given extra force yesterday when the government confirmed that next year the state pension was likely to rise by significantly more than the value of inflation (because the increase will be pegged to the rate of inflation in September, which is likely to be 10% or more, but will be implemented for 2023-24, when inflation should be lower).

This morning the economist Jim O’Neill, a former Treasury minister, said this was “ludicrous”. Asked on the Today programme to explain why pensioners were getting 10%, but younger workers were lucky to get a pay rise of 3%, he said he had “no idea”. He went on:

It seems to me pensioners, given the pressure on fiscal policies and these inequality issues now for the past decade and beyond, the constant protection of pensioners seems ludicrous in itself and, in these circumstances, particularly crazy.

O’Neill is technically a Tory former Treasury minister; a former Goldman Sachs chief economist, he took the Conservative whip in the House of Lords while he served as a Treasury minister in David Cameron’s government from 2015 to 2016. But now he sits as a crossbencher, and he has recently started advising the Labour party on startup policy.

O’Neill did not mention two well-documented factors to help explain the government’s apparent generosity to pensioners. First, they are more likely to vote than younger people, meaning that as electors they tend to wield disproportionate influence. And, second, they are far more likely to vote Conservative than Labour.

Dominic Raab, the justice secretary and deputy prime minister, was interviewed on the Today programme just after O’Neill and he was also asked why pensioners deserved a rise not being given to workers. Raab said the government wanted to protect the vulnerable, and pensioners were at particular risk from rising energy costs. He told the programme:

The reason they’re in a different position – and our overall objective is to protect the most vulnerable – is because they are particularly vulnerable and they are disproportionately affected by the increase in energy costs which we know everyone is facing.

I will post more from the morning interviews shortly.

Here is the agenda for the day.

10am: Matthew Rycroft, permanent secretary at the Home Office, gives evidence to the Commons home affairs committee.

10am: Simon Hart, the Welsh secretary, gives evidence to the Commons Welsh affairs committee.

12pm: Boris Johnson faces Keir Starmer at PMQs.

Afternoon: The bill of rights bill is expected to be published.

I try to monitor the comments below the line (BTL) but it is impossible to read them all. If you have a direct question, do include “Andrew” in it somewhere and I’m more likely to find it. I do try to answer questions, and if they are of general interest, I will post the question and reply above the line (ATL), although I can’t promise to do this for everyone.

If you want to attract my attention quickly, it is probably better to use Twitter. I’m on @AndrewSparrow.

Alternatively, you can email me at andrew.sparrow@theguardian.com

This is from the FT’s Peter Foster on the Jim O’Neill interview on the Today programme. (See 9.33am.)

Intense frustration audible from Jim O’Neill on @BBCr4today about inability of @BorisJohnson to stick at policy and deliver #levellingup..that than just headline chasing. What some in Whitehall call “government by spasm”.

— Peter Foster (@pmdfoster) June 22, 2022

Bill of rights bill about applying ‘common sense’ to human rights legislation, says Raab

Dominic Raab, the justice secretary and deputy first minister, told LBC that his bill of rights bill (see 9.39am) was about applying “common sense” to human rights legislation. He explained:

No one is talking about tearing about human rights in this country. We are staying in the European Convention, we are going to reinforce those quintessentially British rights like free speech.

But I do think, when it comes to public protection, people want to see a dose of common sense and balance provided, that’s what our reforms will achieve.

Dominic Raab, the justice secretary and deputy PM, was on the interview shows this morning to speak about the bill of rights bill being published today.

Here is our preview story by my colleague Haroon Siddique.

Here is a briefing on what’s proposed by my colleague Archie Bland, in his First Edition newsletter.

And here is a link to a briefing on it from the legal affairs commentator Joshua Rozenberg, who has also published a copy of the first page of the bill.

In his Today interview Jim O’Neill was also asked if he agreed with Mervyn King, the former governor of the Bank of England, who said recently the government needed to deliver a “clear narrative” about the economic problems facing the country. O’Neill agreed this was a problem. He said:

I am waiting for them to have a clear framework for their economic policy. The whole leveling up and Northern Powerhouse stuff….. is going to get lost again in all of this.

The government needs, instead of jumping from one policy and seemingly trying to pander to everyone’s whims, to develop a clear and articulate policy framework of which we don’t have one.

Big hike planned in value of state pensions ‘ludicrous’, says former Tory Treasury minister

Good morning. The latest inflation figures have come out, and they show the headline rate of inflation reached 9.1% in May, the highest figure for 40 years. My colleague Julia Kollewe has more details on the business live blog.

Rising inflation makes it harder for the government to explain why rail workers – and, indeed, almost everyone else – are expected to put up with pay rises worth less than the value of inflation (ie, a real-terms cut). This question was given extra force yesterday when the government confirmed that next year the state pension was likely to rise by significantly more than the value of inflation (because the increase will be pegged to the rate of inflation in September, which is likely to be 10% or more, but will be implemented for 2023-24, when inflation should be lower).

This morning the economist Jim O’Neill, a former Treasury minister, said this was “ludicrous”. Asked on the Today programme to explain why pensioners were getting 10%, but younger workers were lucky to get a pay rise of 3%, he said he had “no idea”. He went on:

It seems to me pensioners, given the pressure on fiscal policies and these inequality issues now for the past decade and beyond, the constant protection of pensioners seems ludicrous in itself and, in these circumstances, particularly crazy.

O’Neill is technically a Tory former Treasury minister; a former Goldman Sachs chief economist, he took the Conservative whip in the House of Lords while he served as a Treasury minister in David Cameron’s government from 2015 to 2016. But now he sits as a crossbencher, and he has recently started advising the Labour party on startup policy.

O’Neill did not mention two well-documented factors to help explain the government’s apparent generosity to pensioners. First, they are more likely to vote than younger people, meaning that as electors they tend to wield disproportionate influence. And, second, they are far more likely to vote Conservative than Labour.

Dominic Raab, the justice secretary and deputy prime minister, was interviewed on the Today programme just after O’Neill and he was also asked why pensioners deserved a rise not being given to workers. Raab said the government wanted to protect the vulnerable, and pensioners were at particular risk from rising energy costs. He told the programme:

The reason they’re in a different position – and our overall objective is to protect the most vulnerable – is because they are particularly vulnerable and they are disproportionately affected by the increase in energy costs which we know everyone is facing.

I will post more from the morning interviews shortly.

Here is the agenda for the day.

10am: Matthew Rycroft, permanent secretary at the Home Office, gives evidence to the Commons home affairs committee.

10am: Simon Hart, the Welsh secretary, gives evidence to the Commons Welsh affairs committee.

12pm: Boris Johnson faces Keir Starmer at PMQs.

Afternoon: The bill of rights bill is expected to be published.

I try to monitor the comments below the line (BTL) but it is impossible to read them all. If you have a direct question, do include “Andrew” in it somewhere and I’m more likely to find it. I do try to answer questions, and if they are of general interest, I will post the question and reply above the line (ATL), although I can’t promise to do this for everyone.

If you want to attract my attention quickly, it is probably better to use Twitter. I’m on @AndrewSparrow.

Alternatively, you can email me at andrew.sparrow@theguardian.com

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