Liam Byrne
British politician
Liam Byrne
Liam Dominic Byrne is a British Labour Party politician who has been the Member of Parliament (MP) for Birmingham Hodge Hill since 2004, and was the Chief Secretary to the Treasury from 2009 to 2010 before being appointed Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions on 20 January 2011.
Biography
Liam Byrne's personal information overview.
{{personal_detail.supertitle}}
{{personal_detail.title}}
{{personal_detail.title}}
Relationships
View family, career and love interests for Liam Byrne
News
News abour Liam Byrne from around the web
Universal credit: rules broken in £23m orders
Guardian (UK) - over 3 years
Report warns of risk in pushing scheme through after PA signed off 15 purchases 'without authority' Ministers and civil servants in charge of the government's main welfare reform programme failed to stop a secretary "signing off" contracts worth at least £23m, documents obtained by the Guardian reveal. Amid signs that ministers appear determined to introduce the faltering universal credit scheme before the next election, a leaked report shows that accountants from the consulting group PwC have uncovered a series of procurement problems within the IT implementation programme. The accountants said they were concerned that the personal assistant of the chair of the Strategic Design Authority, who is in charge of the employment and support allowances and the incapacity benefit programme, was able to authorise 15 purchase orders in breach of procurement rules. Two purchase orders were worth £22.6m and £1.1m, the previously undisclosed report found. This, auditors said, left a "risk th ...
Article Link:
Guardian (UK) article
Rows, abuse, threats: leaked emails reveal real story inside Blair's bunker
Guardian (UK) - over 3 years
Exclusive: Like a script for The Thick of It – the messages that show how the PM's team fought in vain to prevent Brown's coup Read the leaked emails detailing the battle in Downing Street Downing Street emails detailing the rearguard battle to prevent Tony Blair being ousted from No 10 in September 2006 have been released that show the then prime minister's allies desperately trying to prevent him having to endorse his rival Gordon Brown. The hundreds of emails, sent to and from Blair's core political team in No 10, reveal that the prime minister appears to have ordered his staff to describe the attempt to oust him as amounting to blackmail. The source of the emails is Benjamin Wegg-Prosser, who was at the time director of the strategic communications unit in No 10. He said he was releasing the emails partly given the intrinsic interest in one of most dramatic weeks in Labour party history, but also to remind Labour of the dangers of party factionalism. Reflecting in the Guardia ...
Article Link:
Guardian (UK) article
Iain Duncan Smith accused of misleading MPs over cost of IT failures
Guardian (UK) - over 3 years
Officials say up to £161m could be written off on universal credit IT system – four times what minister said Iain Duncan Smith has been accused of misleading parliament after it emerged that the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) could write off up to £161m spent on an IT system for ambitious welfare changes – more than four times what the minister said would be wasted. The welfare minister also faces further embarrassing disclosures from PwC accountants who found that the universal credit system, which will allow the government to roll six welfare payments into one, has had little ministerial oversight. In one instance, a civil servant's personal assistant was allowed to sign off contracts, they found. The disclosures emerged at a public accounts committee meeting on Wednesday when officials from the department were closely questioned by MPs. Mike Driver, the finance director general of the department, confirmed that the costs could be as much as £161m, while Norma Wood, the ...
Article Link:
Guardian (UK) article
UK's lowest-paid employees to be classed as 'not working enough'
Guardian (UK) - over 3 years
One million people could be pushed to earn more – or have their benefits cut, says Department for Work and Pensions One million of Britain's lowest paid employees will be classed as "not working enough" and could find themselves pushed with the threat of sanctions to find more income under radical changes to benefits, the Department for Work and Pensions has said. DWP internal documents seen by the Guardian reveal that people earning between £330 and around £950 a month – just under the rate of the national minimum wage for a 35-hour week – could be mandated to attend jobcentre meetings where their working habits will be examined as part of the universal credit programme. Some of those deemed to be "not working enough" could also be instructed to take on extra training – and if they fail to complete tasks they could be stripped of their UC benefits in a move which departmental insiders conceded is controversial. The DWP said that their overall plans for those in low-paid work were ...
Article Link:
Guardian (UK) article
Universal credit: Iain Duncan Smith blames civil servants for IT failings
Guardian (UK) - over 3 years
Cabinet minister takes rare step of publicly blaming civil servants after report says they have weak control of welfare project Iain Duncan Smith has blamed civil servants for IT failings in the introduction of the £2.4bn universal credit system, which is designed to consolidate six welfare payments into one. The work and pensions secretary took the rare step for a cabinet minister of publicly blaming civil servants after the release of a scathing report by the National Audit Office (NAO) on the introduction of universal credit. The report said the welfare changes had been poorly managed and were riddled with major IT problems, threatening to increase costs by hundreds of millions of pounds. Duncan Smith told BBC Breakfast he had "lost faith in the ability of the civil servants to be able to manage this programme" and the vast IT development involved. He told the Today programme on BBC Radio 4: "I fully accept, because I could have written this report myself, that the problem was ...
Article Link:
Guardian (UK) article
DWP chaos to cost £1.4bn, says Labour's Liam Byrne - BBC News
Google News - over 3 years
BBC News DWP chaos to cost £1.4bn, says Labour's Liam Byrne BBC News Iain Duncan Smith's flagship welfare programmes have gone so badly wrong they are set to cost taxpayers £1.4bn, his Labour shadow is to claim. Liam Byrne will say the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is in "chaos" with schemes such as Universal ... Labour slams IDS welfare 'failure'Belfast Telegraph Welfare reforms delays and errors have wasted almost £1.5billion, Labour claimsMirror.co.uk Benefits chaos will cost extra £1.4bn, claims LabourThe Guardian all 5 news articles »
Article Link:
Google News article
Benefits chaos will cost extra £1.4bn, claims Labour
Guardian (UK) - over 3 years
Liam Byrne says some plans to slash welfare could cost more than they save, but Tories dismiss 'panicking' Labour's figures The coalition's benefit cuts have descended into "chaos" that will cost an extra £1.4bn because of delays, extra claimants, waste and complaints, Labour claims. Liam Byrne, the shadow work and pensions secretary, is to demand cross-party talks on the issue. In a speech he will argue that Labour needs to know what is going on because it may be forced to make tough decisions on restricting benefit payments if it wins power in 2015. Some of the government's plans to slash the welfare state could cost more than they save, Byrne will claim. Labour has calculated that the total bill for botched policies and waste will be £1.4bn by the end of this parliament – the equivalent of £245 for every working-age benefit claimant in Britain. The Tories dismissed the calculations as "laughable". "Over the last month it has become crystal clear that the so-called revolution is ...
Article Link:
Guardian (UK) article
Labour MP under fire over free trip to China funded by Communist regime
Daily Mail (UK) - over 3 years
The Beijing government picked up Liam Byrne’s hotel bill during a trip to China to research a book which showers praise on the country.
Article Link:
Daily Mail (UK) article
Britain faces 'colossal' child poverty bill, report shows
Guardian (UK) - over 3 years
One-in-four children in Britain, about 3.4 million, is forecast to be in relative poverty by the end of the decade Britain faces a "colossal bill" for child poverty with the cost of increasing rates of destitution calculated to reach £35bn a year by 2020, according to a report. Donald Hirsch, an academic at Loughborough University, says that one-in-four children in Britain – 3.4 million – is forecast to be in relative poverty by the end of the decade. At those levels about 3% of the country's GDP would be consumed, as well as the longer term losses to the economy that result from lower educational attainment and poorer physical and mental health in later life. The result is a bill in 2020 of £35bn – an amount that exceeds the cost of HS2, the proposed high-speed rail network. Hirsch first calculated the cost to the country of "very high levels" of child poverty in 2008 and warned then that the economy was losing £25bn a year because of impoverished childhoods. Today child poverty ...
Article Link:
Guardian (UK) article
Ed Miliband and Ed Balls to set out Labour approach to public spending
Guardian (UK) - over 3 years
Two key speeches will seek to define spending priorities and remove perception of party as indecisive Ed Miliband and Ed Balls plan to make two major speeches on the economy next week setting out their approach to public spending, including a commitment to cap spending on what is described as structural welfare spending as opposed to spending increases caused by recession. Balls is also likely to set the broad Labour spending priorities including capital spending on infrastructure, childcare, housebuilding and integrated healthcare for the elderly. Balls is due to make his address on Monday and Miliband later in the week. Both men are trying to tackle some of Labour's longstanding polling weaknesses, including its perceived inability to make tough decisions, map out its priorities and reassure those who believe Labour sees extra public spending as the only solution to social ills. The speeches have been in preparation for as long as two months, and are seen as a vital moment in the ...
Article Link:
Guardian (UK) article
Ed Miliband hits back after union leader's 'reprehensible' attack
Guardian (UK) - almost 4 years
Labour leadership condemns 'attempt to divide party' after Unite's Len McCluskey warns of Blairite stain Ed Miliband risked a civil war in the Labour movement on Wednesday evening when he denounced the leader of Britain's largest trade union for a "reprehensible" attempt to divide the party after warning of the dangers of being "seduced" by supporters of Tony Blair. In his strongest attack on any union leader, Miliband tore into Len McCluskey hours after the Unite general secretary claimed that the Labour leader would be "cast into the dustbin of history" unless he abandons support for David Miliband's campaign managers, Jim Murphy and Douglas Alexander. "Len McCluskey does not speak for the Labour Party," a spokesman for Miliband said. "This attempt to divide the Labour Party is reprehensible. "It is the kind of politics that lost Labour many elections in the 1980s. It won't work. It is wrong. It is disloyal to the party he claims to represent." The strongly worded statement fo ...
Article Link:
Guardian (UK) article
David Blunkett urges Ed Miliband to look beyond 'selfish' public sector
Guardian (UK) - almost 4 years
Labour must embrace its One Nation credentials, insists former home secretary Ed Miliband's leadership faced fresh criticism as David Blunkett, a former home secretary, backed Tony Blair in calling for a "one nation" Labour party based on more than just backing the "grievance of a resentful and selfish" public sector against budget cuts. Blunkett, a New Labour stalwart who held four cabinet positions within the Blair administration, says his party should not simply be about championing the cause of those suffering the most obvious injustices. The Labour grandee instead called for Miliband to rise to the challenge of offering a "mutual sense of purpose" that will gather the support of all parts of the country. Writing on this newspaper's website, Blunkett, who insisted that he and Blair were not criticising Miliband as part of a New Labour putsch but merely seeking to provoke debate, said: "'One Nation' cannot and should never be simply the avoidance of the most obvious injustice o ...
Article Link:
Guardian (UK) article
Lee Brown: Ecuador's Lessons for Europe's Corridors of Power
Huffington Post - about 4 years
Government after government across Europe has been thrown out since the great recession began to drive back living standards. Whether on the centre-left, such as Gordon Brown and Zapatero, or on the right with Berlusconi and Sarkozy, political rejection has started to look inevitable. But Rafael Correa's massive re-election win in Ecuador yesterday was a reminder to his European counterparts that political defeat is no iron law of politics. Correa's first term in office began just as the global economic crisis kicked in. Yet he has just been re-elected with nearly 60% of the vote and a 30 point lead over his main rival, a margin any European leader can only dream of. So what lessons should politicians in Europe draw from this development in South America? Firstly, Correa's growing popularity has been driven by his rejection of austerity. Posed as the only option in Europe, Correa has dismissed this 'suicide pact' in favour of economic stimulus favoured by Nobel Prize w ...
Article Link:
Huffington Post article
Benefits and child credits squeeze pushes 200,000 children into poverty
Guardian (UK) - about 4 years
Government admits statistic that Labour says shows children are victims of Tory 'games' and 'economic failure' The squeeze on tax credits and benefits will push 200,000 more children into poverty, the government has admitted for the first time. This suggests that in total a million extra children will be in poverty as a result of government welfare measures. The extra 200,000 children in poverty is a result of the government's decision to lift most in-work and out-of-work benefits by only 1% a year over the next three years, instead of increasing them in line with inflation. Ministers had been reluctant to state what the impact would be on child poverty, an official government measure of relative poverty that looks at the number of households with incomes at 60% or less than the national average household income. But in an answer to a parliamentary question, the work and pensions minister, Esther McVey, estimated that "the uprating measures in 2013-14, 2014-15 and 2015-16 will res ...
Article Link:
Guardian (UK) article
Revealed: soldiers, nurses and teachers hit by benefit curbs
Guardian (UK) - about 4 years
New report says 500,000 key staff will lose income under the coalition's benefits crackdown Half a million soldiers, nurses and teachers will have their income slashed under the coalition's benefits crackdown, according to a new report. The chancellor's sub-inflation rise in benefits and tax credits over the next three years will hit a whole range of the country's most trusted professionals. Up to 40,000 soldiers, 300,000 nurses and 150,000 primary and nursery school teachers will lose cash, in some cases many hundreds of pounds, according to the Children's Society. The revelation appears to contradict the government's stated intention to target shirkers and scroungers, and will raise the temperature of the Commons debate and vote on the plan on Tuesday. The analysis, which is set to be at the centre of Labour's attack on the coalition in the Commons, when Ed Miliband's party will vote against the policy, reveals for the first time the range of professions that will be hit. By 2015 ...
Article Link:
Guardian (UK) article
Voters think dole payments are too low, Claims Labour as £1billion raid on pensions comes under attack from the experts
Daily Mail (UK) - about 4 years
Labour's work and pensions spokesman, Liam Byrne, unveiled a scheme to give jobs to those who have been unemployed for more than two years – which they would have to take or risk losing their benefits.
Article Link:
Daily Mail (UK) article
Universal credit welfare pilot beset by IT failures
Guardian (UK) - about 4 years
Real-time system required to match employers' payments to employees' bank accounts has 25% failure rate The scale of the threat to the coalition's universal credit scheme (UC) has been revealed by figures showing that the IT system required to match employers and banks' records is failing 25% of the time. Fears that the centrepiece of government welfare reform will not be ready have led to repeated negative Treasury briefings about the problems facing the Department for Work and Pensions. Labour released the figures as a riposte to claims by the work and pensions secretary, Iain Duncan Smith, that Labour oversaw the creation of a tax credit system that allowed fraud and error to mushroom. It was the latest salvo in a bitter political battle on welfare before this month's vote on whether benefits should rise by only 1% for the next three years. Labour has all but vowed to vote for a rise in line with inflation. The shadow work and pensions secretary, Liam Byrne, and his deputy, St ...
Article Link:
Guardian (UK) article
Writing exercises help jobseekers find work, claims government's nudge unit
Guardian (UK) - about 4 years
Team says range of behavioural psychology experiments shows value of lifting confidence and cutting red tape A pioneering experiment to help people off benefits and into work is being expanded after trials showed that almost 20% of claimants taking part were more likely to get a job three months after signing on than those excluded. The team of academics that make up Downing Street's Behavioural Insight Team, also known as the nudge unit, used behavioural psychology to achieve the breakthrough. Their techniques included cutting down on the amount of paperwork that claimants had to fill in, as well as building their confidence. The coalition has faced a barrage of negative publicity over its work programme, which has found sustained work for only 3.5% of claimants – less than the 5% expected if it had done nothing. The nudge unit has been working for the last six months at a jobcentre in Loughton, Essex, where claimants who took part in the trial were around 17.5% more likely than t ...
Article Link:
Guardian (UK) article
Timeline
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Liam Byrne
    FORTIES
  • 2015
    Age 44
    Byrne was shortlisted for the Grassroot Diplomat Initiative Award in 2015 for his work on raising money for various charities that he supports, and he remains in the directory of the Grassroot Diplomat Who's Who publication.
    More Details Hide Details
  • THIRTIES
  • 2010
    Age 39
    On leaving his position as Chief Secretary to the Treasury following the change of British government in May 2010, Byrne left a "humourous" note to his successor David Laws saying "Dear Chief Secretary, I’m afraid there is no money.
    More Details Hide Details Kind regards – and good luck! Liam." Byrne later claimed that it was just typical humour between politicians, but regretted it since the new government used it to justify the wave of cuts that were introduced. The note echoed Chancellor Reginald Maudling's "Good luck, old cock... Sorry to leave it in such a mess." after the Conservatives' defeat at the 1964 election. The note was frequently referenced by the following coalition government of Conservatives and Liberal Democrats to criticise the financial record of the previous Labour government, and used as a visual prop by David Cameron in the Question Time debate preceding the following 2015 election. Byrne stated he has "burnt with shame" since 2010 over the note which had harmed the 2015 election campaign. Byrne has been a vocal campaigner for road safety and handed in a petition in to Parliament in 2005 demanding tougher punishments for dangerous drivers. He sat on the parliamentary committee that shaped the 2006 Road Safety Act, which increased fixed penalty fines for driving while using a mobile. On 2 November 2007 he was fined £100 and received three points on his driving licence for using his mobile telephone while driving.
    He was re-elected at the May 2010 general election.
    More Details Hide Details
  • 2008
    Age 37
    In November 2008 an 11-page memo written by Byrne entitled "Working With Liam Byrne" was leaked to the press.
    More Details Hide Details In the memo, Byrne listed his demands from his staff, memorably including his requirement for a cappuccino on his arrival in the office, an espresso at 3 pm, and soup between 12:30 pm and 1 pm. Byrne also instructed officials to tell him "not what you think I should know, but you expect I will get asked." He warns staff that they should "Never put anything to me unless you understand it and can explain it to me in 60 seconds... If I see things that are not of acceptable quality, I will blame you." Conservative MP Philip Davies commented that "This is not a briefing note for civil servants, it’s a briefing note for slaves." Although The Guardian described Liam Byrne as an "eager diva", a spokesman for Byrne commented that the memo had been written in 2006, and that "He is a highly efficient Minister but has become more flexible since then. Some days, he has his soup at 1:30 pm."
    In a cabinet reshuffle on 3 October 2008 he was promoted, becoming Minister for the Cabinet Office and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster.
    More Details Hide Details
    Gordon Brown named him Minister for the Cabinet Office in October 2008, replacing the promoted Ed Miliband, and Byrne was appointed to the Privy Council as a result.
    More Details Hide Details
    In June 2008, Byrne suggested the "August bank holiday" to be made a weekend of national celebration (the so-called "British Day") in a speech to a New Labour think tank.
    More Details Hide Details However, Scotland's August bank holiday is held on a different date from that in Wales and England. He later retracted this - after pressure from the Scottish National Party - saying he was merely trying to "get the debate started".
  • 2007
    Age 36
    In 2007 Byrne was criticised by London's cab drivers for his remarks that they were "low-skilled".
    More Details Hide Details This ignored the fact that the cabbies study the details of London's streets for an average of between three and four years before becoming licensed.
  • 2006
    Age 35
    In November 2006 Byrne was responsible for a change to Immigration Rules preventing migrants who had entered under Britain's Highly Skilled Migrant Programme (HSMP) having their permission to remain in Britain extended, unless they could show both that they had been earning at least £32,000 pa while in Britain and also that they had a good knowledge of English.
    More Details Hide Details This change was controversial because it applied retrospectively to immigrants who had entered Britain under the old rules, meaning the British Government had "moved the goalposts"–a degree became effectively an essential requirement, regardless of the skills or economic contribution that an individual could demonstrate. In their report into the changes, the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights said that "The changes to the Rules are so clearly incompatible with Article 8, and so contrary to basic notions of fairness, that the case for immediately revisiting the changes to the Rules in Parliament is in our view overwhelming." Appeal cases have been won on appeal on the grounds that applicants had a legitimate expectation that the rules would not change to their detriment. A judicial review has been successfully brought against the government, with their actions when applying the new HSMP rules to those HSMP holders already in Britain as at 7 November 2006 being ruled as unlawful.
    Following the 2006 local elections he was promoted to Minister of State for policing, security and community safety at the Home Office, replacing Hazel Blears, one of the highest-profile roles in the government outside the cabinet. However, just a fortnight later Home Secretary John Reid moved him to the immigration role, switching portfolios with Tony McNulty. McNulty had been connected with the foreign prisoners scandal that caused Tony Blair to sack Charles Clarke in May 2006.
    More Details Hide Details Byrne's move was seen as an attempt by Reid to establish an entirely new team to sort out the immigration system. During this period he was also Minister for the West Midlands.
  • 2005
    Age 34
    Following his re-election with an increased majority on 5 May 2005, he was appointed Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Department of Health, an unusually fast promotion to ministerial rank.
    More Details Hide Details
  • 2004
    Age 33
    He made his maiden speech on 22 July 2004.
    More Details Hide Details
    He was selected to contest the Birmingham Hodge Hill by-election following the resignation of the veteran Labour MP Terry Davis to become the Secretary General of the Council of Europe. After a very close contest, on 15 July 2004, the same day as Labour lost Leicester South in another by-election, Byrne held on with a majority of just 460.
    More Details Hide Details
  • TWENTIES
  • 1996
    Age 25
    Between 1996 and 1997 he advised the Labour Party on the re-organisation of its Millbank headquarters, and helped lead Labour's business campaign under the 'New Labour' scheme.
    More Details Hide Details
  • CHILDHOOD
  • 1970
    Born
    Born on October 2, 1970.
    More Details Hide Details
Original Authors of this text are noted here.
All data offered is derived from public sources. Spokeo does not verify or evaluate each piece of data, and makes no warranties or guarantees about any of the information offered. Spokeo does not possess or have access to secure or private financial information. Spokeo is not a consumer reporting agency and does not offer consumer reports. None of the information offered by Spokeo is to be considered for purposes of determining any entity or person's eligibility for credit, insurance, employment, housing, or for any other purposes covered under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)