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Appointments

How many ministers does it take to run the DWP?

How many ministers does it take to run the DWP?

Mark Dunne
Friday 12th January 2018

Britain has a new pensions minister – its fifth in almost three years.

TV presenter-turned-politician Esther McVey is the latest to sit in the work and pensions office following Theresa May’s cabinet reshuffle in January.

She replaces David Gauke, who left after six months in the role to be secretary of state for justice.

McVey, who was elected to the Tatton seat vacated by George Osborne, also follows Iain Duncan Smith, Stephen Crabb and Damian Green in holding the post since 2015.

Yet another change has left some to question if ministers have had enough time to get to grips with some of the issues affecting pensions.

McVey’s in-tray includes a review of auto-enrolment, deciding if pension saving should be extended to 18 year olds and looking at how the government can help the self-employed save for their retirement.

Old Mutual Wealth’s head of retirement policy, Jon Greer, said: “It is disappointing that one of the most important jobs in government, which has a huge bearing on people’s financial wellbeing, has become a merry-go-round.

“Esther McVey will have some understanding of the brief from her time as parliamentary under-secretary for work and pensions. However, setting retirement policy and ensuring we have a well-functioning state pension system is a long-term project which is put at risk if the minister responsible for the DWP changes for one year to the next,” he added.

“Those planning ahead for their retirement need certainty and stability when it comes to government policy so that they can make informed financial planning choices. We need a minister to stay in the role for a number of years with a real commitment to properly scrutinising any proposed legislative changes to the pension system.”

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