New pensions minister takes on re-defined role


10 Jul 2024

Emma Reynolds is the new pensions minister across the treasury and the Department for Work and Pensions.

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Emma Reynolds is the new pensions minister across the treasury and the Department for Work and Pensions.

It was remarked upon at the Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association’s LGPS conference that there have been as many pension ministers as Chelsea football managers, which is a good comparison in terms of the constant churn in personnel.

And the industry now has another minister. Although this time it can be argued this is justified and expected, as it is an entirely new government. 

What is not expected is how the new pensions minister will work.

Emma Reynolds, the MP for Wycombe, has been appointed to a ministerial role in the treasury and the Department for Work and Pensions.

This could lead to more “joined up” pension policy according to LCP partner and former pensions minister, Steve Webb.

At present, many areas of pension policy are split between the two departments. 

For example, regulation of trust-based occupational pensions comes under DWP and The Pensions Regulator, whereas regulation of contract-based pensions provided by insurance companies comes under the treasury and the Financial Conduct Authority.   

“Having a single minister in charge of both could mean that policy is more coherent and fully considers the many different types of pension arrangements which UK workers currently use,” Webb said.

He added: “With a combined appointment there is the opportunity for decisions on pensions to take full account of the whole pensions landscape.” 

Although Webb did also highlight an element of risk in the joint appointment role. “One risk is that the treasury’s desire to see pension assets used to promote economic growth at a macro level could mean that the individual member perspective gets less attention than it should. This is something that the new minister will have to guard against,” he said.

Reynolds was first elected to parliament in 2010, representing Wolverhampton North East and served for nine years before losing her seat in 2019. 

She stood again in July’s election in Wycombe and returned to parliament with a majority of just over 4,500 votes.


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