Daily Archives: March 16, 2010

Nicholas Timmins

Not in the sense that the arrival of the new personal pensions in 2012 will cause riots on the streets. But in the sense that a once simple policy goal becomes so complicated by practical considerations and compromises along the way that it fails. Spectacularly.

Ministers yesterday announced, in outline, how people will be charged for the new pensions - and the way that is to happen may just prove the straw that breaks the back of the scheme.

The goal for the new personal pensions – now known as NEST – was clear when Adair Turner’s Pensions Commission recommended, back in 2005, that they should be introduced from 2010.

A simple, low cost pension, into which millions of lower to middle income earners with no pension provision would be automatically enrolled, through with the right to opt out.

Since then the timetable has slipped, and a series of practical considerations have led to a swift start becoming a decidedly prolonged roll out

Jim Pickard

Before lunch I attended an amusing Tory event designed to reinforce the impression that Labour has reverted to Old Labour. Theresa Villiers, Eric Pickles and Michael Gove were our hosts – ironically at Transport House, former home of the T&G.

Some of the language was delightfully ripe, with Gove suggesting that Charlie Whelan had “unleashed the forces of hell” on families wanting to fly abroad over Easter. “I would never go as far as calling Charlie Whelan an ‘aggressive hooligan’, ‘serial killer*‘ or ‘killing machine’ – but then, civil servants and senior Labour figures have already said that,” said the shadow education spokesman. He also described a “second Mesozoic era, with a succession of dinosaurs trooping through Downing Street.”

But does Gove’s main premise stack up? 

Jim Pickard

I’m told that Barbara Roche, a former Labour minister, is on the shortlist for Stalybridge & Hyde which has only just been decided. 

Jim Pickard

It would have been more of a news story if Dugher hadn’t got through the selection process: but I’m told that Brown’s political spokesman was last night picked to be PPC for Barnsley East. Apparently he sailed through the first round. You may recall that the seat has a majority of 50 per cent, making it almost invincible.