Laura Trott’s promotion to Chief Secretary to the Treasury in today’s reshuffle is the latest marking point in her rapid political rise.
The Sevenoaks MP has been in Parliament for less than four years – having first been elected at the 2019 general election – but now finds herself attending Cabinet.
When the 38-year-old sits around the Cabinet table for the first time she will see her old boss – former prime minister David Cameron – sat near her.
The architect of much of the detail of the Mansion House reforms will be in day to day contact with the Chancellor and also with her old boss Mel Stride, who continues to run DWP and preside over pensions as Secretary of State.
This seems a healthy state of affairs. It gives someone with first hand experience of our issues a seat in the font of public spending
Joanne Donnelly , herself a Treasury civil servant has reported both to Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak , so speaks with some experience,
While agreeing with Joanne’s sentiment, I have to point out that Stephen Timms has also been both pension minister and Chief Secretary to the Treasury
While we await a new pensions minister, we should not forget the old one, nor forget that Guy Opperman’s experience and passion for better pensions, is available to whoever takes on the pension brief. I am pleased that Opperman has been vocal on pensions recently
As many pension experts like Nick Sherry, @henryhtapper and others have argued this direction of travel for DB and DC is one way.
For my part, as an interested observer, it seems inevitable that we will soon have professional trustees, proper performance league tables & more 2/
— Guy Opperman (@GuyOpperman) November 9, 2023
I am sorry to hear that he is leaving his Ministerial post at DWP
Guy Opperman has left his position of Minister of State for Employment.
— CalComms (@_calcomms) November 13, 2023
When a pensions bill was omitted from the Kings Speech last week, many people thought that life would return to BAU for pensions, with DB schemes shuffling off their mortal coil while workplace DC plans continued to misrepresent themselves as pensions.
But Rachel Reeve chose yesterday to announce that the groundwork laid down by Laura Trott and her DWP policy team, was the basis for Labour policy and that there would be pensions continuity whether a Labour or Conservative administration emerges in 2025.
As I said in October 2022, when Mel Stride took over as DWP SOS, the links between Treasury and DWP ( and by extension FCA and TPR) are what are needed for “joined up Government”.
Those links were secured yesterday by Laura Trott’s remarkable promotion to Chief Secretary to the Treasury. We even saw the long-awaited report from now Lord Richard Harrington on increasing industrial productivity arrive on Pensions D-DAy – November 13th.
Harrington calls for an investment minister to oversee inward investment into the UK – a “concierge service” as he calls it.
A welcome opportunity to prepare the ground
Another former civil servant I spoke to yesterday was also optimistic
Oddly enough I have sone hopes now. IF there is nothing to happen in pensions for a year, we should all work to that timescale, get more agreement in what is to be done rather than race around on myriad new ideas, and try to avoid unnecessary infighting.
The pace of change will slow, we need to make sure that what has been agreed gets implements (such as Royal Mail’s CDC plan)
We should press ahead with what can be done using interim and secondary legislation, so that when further legislative reform arrives (as I expect in 2025) , there is strong consensus as to what it does and how it is implemented. This may be a longer term project than many business plans will countenance, but we must recognise that big change, does not happen over night. The Mansion House reforms are big change.
Why yesterday was a good day for the Mansion House pension reforms
Laura Trott is now in one of the most important jobs in Government, she controls public spending. She is a key link between what comes in (by way of tax and investment) and what goes out, by way of public and private pension cashflows.
Her time at the DWP has prepared her for this role and she will take to the post a deep understanding of our issues. What is more, she leaves behind a DWP team , endowed with experience and confidence in the pension policy we have embarked upon.
The Mansion House reforms are far from dead, in fact they have had new life breathed into them by yesterday’s cabinet reshuffle. Far from looking on the changes with gloom, I see them as part of an ongoing congruency in pension policy which brings the key Government departments of DWP, Treasury and DULUC together,
Let us hope that this cross-departmental consistency is reflected over time in consistency between Governmental administration.