Liberal Democrat members back pension changes but opposing making strikes harder

Lib Dem Voice has polled our members-only forum to discover what Lib Dem members think of various political issues, the Coalition, and the performance of key party figures. Some 564 party members responded, and we are publishing the full results here over several days.

According to our latest survey of paid-up party members, Liberal Democrats want to see major changes to pension arrangements in the UK. Nearly three-quarters want to see universal benefits such as free television licenses and bus passes replaced with means-testing so that the wealthiest pensioners do not receive the same benefits as everyone else.

There is also strong support for changing public sector pension arrangements, with party members backing the government’s original proposals by a similar margin and with just under two-thirds opposing the public sector strike held on the issue. (The survey took place before news of the revised offer this week.)

However, despite those views on the strike, there is a 2:1 majority against making it harder for strikes to be called by requiring 50% of union members, rather than 50% of those voting, to back a strike.

Here are the questions in full:

Nick Clegg has suggested introducing means-testing so that better-off pensioners would no longer be entitled to receive benefits such as free bus passes and television licences. Supporters argue that at a time of financial austerity such benefits for the wealthiest paid by general taxation are unfair. Opponents argue that the principle of universal benefits is important and that means-testing is administratively complex. Which of the following statements comes closest to your own view:

I support means-testing for some benefits: 70%
I oppose means-testing of benefits: 26%

The Coalition Government is seeking changes to public sector pensions that will require public sector workers to work for longer and contribute more to their pensions. The government say that with people living longer the changes are necessary to make public sector pensions affordable in the long term. The trade unions say that changes have already been made that make current pensions sustainable. Do you support or oppose the government’s changes to public sector pensions?

I support the changes: 71%
I oppose the changes: 20%

Many trade unions voted to go on strike on November 30th in protest against proposed changes to public sector pensions, which will require public sector workers to work for longer and make higher contributions to their pensions. Do you support or oppose this strike action over changes to public sector pensions?

I support the strike action: 23%
I opposed the strike action: 65%

Trade unions must hold a ballot of their members before taking strike action and need the support of a majority of those voting to take action. In some cases, however, only a minority of workers vote in the ballot, meaning only around one-quarter or one-third of workers back the strike. Some people have suggested that the law should be changed so that a union can only go on strike if over 50% of its members back the strike, rather than 50% of those voting. Would you support or oppose this change?

Support – unions should require the support of 50% of all eligible members to take strike action: 32%
Oppose – it should be enough for unions to get the support of 50% of those voting: 60%

  • Over 1,200 Lib Dem paid-up party members are registered with LibDemVoice.org. Some 564 responded to the latest survey, which was conducted between 9th and 13th December.
  • Please note: we make no claims that the survey is fully representative of the Lib Dem membership as a whole. However, LibDemVoice.org’s surveys are the largest independent samples of the views of Lib Dem members across the country, and have in the past accurately predicted the winners of the contest for Party President, and the result of the conference decision to approve the Coalition agreement.
  • The full archive of our members’ surveys can be viewed at www.libdemvoice.org/category/ldv-members-poll

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

All comments and data you submit with them will be handled in line with the privacy and moderation policies.