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‘New pension chief has little time to get up to speed’

Advisers have expressed disappointment that the Government has chosen to replace yet another pensions minister with many important decisions regarding personal accounts still up in the air.

As part of the Government’s latest reshuffle, Rosie Winterton takes over the pension brief from Mike O’Brien, who moves to become energy and climate change minister.

Winterton’s first job will be to help steer the Pensions Bill through its report stage this week.

Hargreaves Lansdown head of pensions research Tom McPhail says: “She has little time to get up to speed. There are significant unresolved issues around levelling down and means testing as well as longer-term doubts about the infrastructure needed to support personal accounts. The new minister may find that she has been given the political equivalent of a hospital pass.”

Highclere Financial Serv-ices principal Alan Lakey says: “This particular post has been bouncing around between unwilling and uninterested politicians for the past 10 years.

“Winterton has no past experience in the financial sector within her Parliamentary career and it indicates to me the low priority the Government gives this sector”.

The revolving door: pension Ministers since labour’s ascent to powerMay 1997 Harriet Harman, Secretary of State for Social Security; Frank Field, minister of state for welfare reform; John Denham, under secretary

July 1998 Alistair Darling, Secretary of State for Social Security; John Denham, pensions minister

Jan 1999 Alistair Darling, Secretary of State for Social Security; Stephen Timms, pensions minister

Jul 1999 Alistair Darling, Secretary of State for Social Security; Jeff Rooker, pensions minister

May 2001 Alistair Darling, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions; Ian McCartney, pensions minister

May 2002 Andrew Smith, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions; Ian McCartney, pensions minister

Jun 2003 Andrew Smith, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions; Malcolm Wicks, pensions minister

Sep 2004 Alan Johnson, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions; Malcolm Wicks, pensions minister

May 2005 David Blunkett, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions; Stephen Timms, pensions minister

Nov 2005 John Hutton, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions; Stephen Timms, pension reform minister

May 2006 John Hutton, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions; James Purnell, pension reform minister

Jun 2007 Peter Hain, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions; Mike O’Brien, pension reform minister

Jan 2008 James Purnell, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions; Mike O’Brien, pension reform minister

Oct 2008 James Purnell, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions; Rosie Winterton, pension reform minister

Source: Steve Bee’s Beeline

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