The relatively unknown junior minister Stephen Timms has been appointed as Minister of State at the DSS replacing John Denham who switches to the Department of Health.
The move represents a significant promotion for Timms, MP for East Ham, who is expected to take on both the welfare reform and pensions briefs.
Timms was made under-secretary of state with responsibility for the disabled and for benefits only last summer. Prior to that he sat on the Treasury select committee. Timms is a former leader of Newham council in London. He entered Parliament in a 1994 by-election.
Legal & General pension strategy director Adrian Boulding says that although the move may have been prompted by events elsewhere the publication of the stakeholder green paper late last year makes this a good time for a change of minister.
He says: "Timms has been active on the benefits and disability side but he earned his spurs on the Treasury select committee. We look forward to working with him."
Standard Life corporate affairs director Tom King says: "We found John Denham very approachable. He appeared to understand our business and we would be encouraged if Stephen Timms demonstrates a similar approach."
Dawn Primarolo, who was previously Financial Secretary to the Treasury, replaces Geoffrey Robinson as Paymaster General.