Bring back Ros! (with a twist)

Convictions before careers

“Social mobility matters to me and our country more than a ministerial career. I’ll continue to work outside of government to do everything I can to create a country for the first time that has equality of opportunity for young people wherever they are growing up.” – Justine Greening

I don’t know Justine Greening (and her words may be hokum) but that she turned down a cabinet position as she did , suggests she’s more a conviction than a career politician.

Having lost her seat in 2015 and regained it in 2017 (inheriting George Osborne’s 14,000 majority in Tatton), McVey has now got the chance to show she’s more than a “super sub careerist”.

Sign on, sign on, with hope in your heart..

Esther 2

We do have a new Minister for Work and Pensions.

I don’t know much about Esther McVey – she’s the first woman boss at the DWP since Harriet Harman and it’s an irony to have a scouse in charge at the social.

That said, with 7000 Liverpudlians on the wrong end of the bedroom tax, our Esther’s not got the greatest of reputations in her home town (see comments on her appointment in Liverpool Echo).

Debbie Abrahams (McVey’s shadow) welcomed her to the post

“In her time as Minister for Disabled People, then Employment, Esther McVey was a key architect of the most draconian and incompetent social security reforms this country has ever seen.

So much for a honeymoon period; Abrahams concludes…

Her failure to make work pay through Universal Credit with 2.6m families now losing up to £2,100 a year, record numbers of working people living in poverty and more disabled people in poverty since 2010 are testament to her record of failure.”

“The boss for DWP” has become a dud job, not because of the pensions piece but because of Universal Credit. In a magnificent piece of work, Gareth Morgan (aka the Ferret) has demonstrated  the issues that “most” older people have with pensions.

It is absolutely critical that we have universal credit working for those who cannot . To give but one example of the failure of UC , look at the abject failure of this policy…

So how does this work for pensions?

Guy opperman tweet

It’s about time our current minister for pensions and social inclusion moved on. He’s been in office long enough to nail his colours to the pension dashboard (ludicrous folly). He’s been tweeting away over the new year.  Sadly for pension folk, none of these tweets are about pensions.

Infact – looking at his twitter profile, you’d be hard-pressed to guess he had any interest in retirement at all. He’s the least “pensions” minister Britain has ever had and he’s showing all the signs of wanting to move up the greasy poll.

The last time I had a meeting with the  Pensions Minister, Richard Harrington told me how committed he was to seeing through the job. I met him again a few months later at the Tory party conference “oh no – not you – no talk about pensions!”.

The first (and only) time I met Guy Opperman, he told those us how committed he was to seeing through his job.


“Other camera Tapper”

He came across to the House of Lords to dish out some certificates for TPAS and tell us about his work with credit unions.

I haven’t seen him since

DWP months in office

If Guy Opperman remains in his current post, it will be more out of sufferance than conviction.

Bring back Ros!

It is about time we had someone in the Pensions hot seat who is prepared to deal with the many and varied issues facing pensions people. Ros Altmann was our Pensions Minister, she left office and her position has since been downgraded, but she knows her stuff. She may not always be right (IMO) but she is someone who puts conviction before career.

David Gauke may not have known much about pensions but he had enough time at the Treasury to know a bit about money. Esther McVey could do with Ros Altmann back to revive the position of Pensions Minister. There are huge challenges facing her – relating to the parlous state of DB pensions, the impending hikes in contributions through auto-enrolment and the demands of Royal Mail and CWU for the rules for CDC.

Having spent a year getting Harrington up to speed and another 6 months trying to find Guy Opperman, it is high time we had a pre-baked pension specialist in the role.

For all her faults – bring back Ros!

This works


There was a moment this afternoon where we all thought things were going to change,

First thismalthouse.PNG

Then this mail 3

But Guy Opperman keeps his job.

No new Pensions Minister as Guy Oppermankeeps his post. But two women in the department have been replaced by men AlokSharma is Employment Minister and Kit Malthouseis in an as yet undetermined job.

— Paul Lewis (@paullewismoney) January 9, 2018

Funny that because I thought it was “absolutely true because I read it in the Daily Mail

About henry tapper

Founder of the Pension PlayPen,, partner of Stella, father of Olly . I am the Pension Plowman
This entry was posted in corporate governance, DWP, pensions and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Bring back Ros! (with a twist)

  1. Brian Gannon says:

    Surely you should be aiming for Frank Field Henry.

  2. Martin Evans says:

    How about no Henry

  3. Chris Clifton says:

    I don’t agree we need Ros back, they shoved her into the Lords so that she could have no influence, George Osborn could control the agenda and Tory central office effectively gagged her; what we need is for the politicians to stop fiddling around and let us get on with the job. Lets go back to the pre Thatcher era when pensions were dealt with cross bench rather than as a political football. Post Brexit expect a raid on the Pension funds as it will be the nearest thing the Government has to a magic money tree.

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