Thérèse Coffey (pictured) has been named secretary of state for Work and Pensions, after Amber Rudd resigned on Saturday (September 7).
Conservative MP for Suffolk Coastal, Ms Coffey has served as an environment minister since 2016 and will be the seventh Work and Pension’s secretary since then.
Ms Rudd resigned from Cabinet and surrendered the Conservative party whip in a bid to show support for her 21 colleagues who were expelled from the party last week for siding with the opposition over no-deal Brexit.
She said on Twitter: “I cannot stand by as good, loyal moderate Conservatives are expelled.”
Ms Rudd, who had been leading the Department for Work and Pensions since November, was reappointed to the role when Boris Johnson took office as prime minister in July. At the time, she was also named minister for Women and Equalities.
Jon Greer, head of retirement policy at Quilter, noted that since Iain Duncan Smith left the DWP, there has been a “string of politicians come and go from the coveted cabinet role”.
He said: “It’s simply impossible for the public to have faith in any enacted policy when the leadership of the department chops and changes so frequently. The only hope is that the next minister stays for more than one calendar year.”
Mr Greer noted Ms Coffey was inheriting “a poisoned chalice which will potentially be even more toxic than the one Amber Rudd was presented with, thanks to a whole host of pressing problems”.
He added: “The impending ramifications of Brexit will mean that the new secretary won’t have long to put together a plan for state pension indexing for expats living in Europe.
“At present, the government has committed to uprating of the UK state pension for recipients living in the EU for the next three years – an announcement that has given expat pensioners little comfort.
“The government is hoping it can negotiate a new arrangement to ensure this policy continues, but this subject to reciprocal agreements which do not appear to be guaranteed.”
The new secretary of state's to-do list includes the pension dashboard project, incorrect state pension forecasts, the net pay/relief at source issue and pension solutions for self-employed workers.
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