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Ruth Kelly takes over financial services role

The DSS has been replaced by the Department of Work and Pensions as part of a shake-up of the Government by Tony Blair following his second landslide victory.

As tipped by Money Marketing, Ruth Kelly has been appointed Treasury economic secretary, the position responsible for financial services. Former incumbent Melanie Johnson has been moved to Parliamentary Secretary at the DTI with responsibility for consumer issues.

Kelly is a former Bank of England official and Guardian journalist and was a PPS to former Agriculture Secretary Nick Brown.

She should be in her Treasury role when the FSA rev-iews of polarisation and disclosure are completed and may have a hand in the selecting who heads the Son of Myners review into retail financial services and possible commission bias.

Alistair Darling continues as Health Secretary at the DWP. In a sign of increased scope and importance of the department, two political heavyweights have been appointed under Darling. The new Minister for Pensions is Ian McCartney. He was formerly minister of state at the Cabinet Office. Brown, switched from the now defunct Agriculture Department, will report to Darling as minister of state for work. A DWP spokesman says the new bigger department will have 125,000 people working in it.

The DWP will introduce the Pensions Service in 2002 to provide a more focused service for the retired and to work with the private pension industry.

In one of his first acts as Work and Pensions Secretary, Darling announced £1.5m in grants to help people find jobs in the finance industry.

At the Department of Health, Jacqui Smith moves from the old Department of Education and Employment to be the minister responsible for long-term care.

Scottish Equitable director of pensions development Stewart Ritchie says: “I welcome the fact that Alistair Darling still heads the department. This gives continuity at the top for pensions. The linking together of work and pensions is important for the future. At present, one day you are 100 per cent working, the next you are 100 per cent retired. An issue for the future is how to avoid this cliff face and introduce a gradual transition instead.”

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