What kind of a shadow pensions minister are we getting this time?

I don’t know much about Gill Furniss, but I don’t know much about Matt Rodda who she succeeds and has been in post some time. Rodda is moving on to  Shadow Minister for AI and Intellectual Property.

Pension Ministers have come and gone over the past thirteen years – only Gregg McClymont has shown a lasting interest in the job. Only Stephen Timms of current Labour politicians has a working relationship with those who work in the pensions outside the public sector.

So people in private pensions need to reach out to Gill and Gill needs to reach out back. It’s no good saying ,as Matt Rodda did, he wanted to do this and not fulfilling . We expect more.

Because pensions is an important role, it needs someone who knows how pensions work.

  • How the state pension works and how it interacts with state benefits
  • How the occupational pension system works and how DWP intends to improve it
  • How auto-enrolment works
  • How those outside the scope of auto-enrolment can be included in pensions

In addition , Gill will need to be familiar with the work of the FCA and PRA as insurance products are critical to the operation of the private sector.

And she will need to understand the work of her own regulator – TPR – which is under new management and under a new work ethos.

These are considerable challenges. If Gill Furniss is the person on whom Labour will rely if they get into Government, she is being given a decent run up. If she is merely holding the brief to pass on to someone more experienced (think Labour members of the Work and Pensions Committee) then she can maintain a Rodder-esque low profile.

It was not so long ago that Angela Rayner was shadow pension minister and it may be that Gill Furniss is on a similar trajectory, Alison was (in her brief tenure) very visible as I am sure Gill could be. Gill endorse Angela (and Lisa Nandy) in the most recent Labour leadership contest

The shadow cabinet reshuffle

Working with Liz Kendall (her boss at DWP), Gill Furniss will be supporting a well-know Blairite to the right of the party. It will be interesting to see how this relationship develops.

We will also have to wait and see just what her level of commitment to the job will be. I hope that she will put her heart and soul into it as it has been a long time since the parliamentary Labour party played an active role in the pensions debates we are having today.

Gill Furniss MP

About henry tapper

Founder of the Pension PlayPen,, partner of Stella, father of Olly . I am the Pension Plowman
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