Paul Maynard confirmed as Minister for Pensions

MP for Blackpool North and Cleveleys, Paul Maynard, has been appointed as the new Pensions Minister at the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

His appointment was announced following the news that former Pensions Minister, Laura Trott, had been promoted to the role of Chief Secretary to the Treasury as part of Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak’s, latest ministerial reshuffle.

Elected as the Conservative MP for Blackpool North and Cleveleys in May 2010, Maynard also previously acted as Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Transport and Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Ministry of Justice from May 2019 to July 2019.

Prior to this, he was Government Whip (Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury), and a Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Transport, from July 2016 to January 2018.

Before entering parliament, he worked as a political adviser and speechwriter.

His appointment comes at a busy time for pensions, with a number of reforms currently underway and further updates expected in the Autumn Statement.

However, industry experts have warned that the new Pensions Minister will have no time to lose in getting to grips with their new role, with Aegon head of pensions, Kate Smith, arguing that “it will be vital for the new minister to get up to speed quickly, and continue driving forward these key pension initiatives.”

Dalriada Trustees head of technical, research and policy, John Wilson, also warned that the new minister will need to be ready to hit the ground running.

“He will find his inbox very full – General Code; Funding Regulations; Dashboards; and, of course, the Mansion House reforms, where he may find that he will be working closely with his predecessor,” he continued.

“We hope that the reshuffle will not mean further delays for these important initiatives, many of which fundamental to effective governance of workplace pensions and more engagement and ultimately better outcomes for members”.

This was echoed by Pensions Management Institute (PMI) president, Robert Wakefield, who said that the appointment comes at a “crucial time”, with the absence of a Pensions Bill in the King’s Speech leaving a range of issues unresolved.

“We are sure Mr Maynard will rise to the exciting challenge of his new position and confirm that we would be delighted to offer our support to him,” he stated.

In particular, enacting the government’s Mansion House Reforms before the end of this parliament is likely to be a key focus for Maynard, according to TPT Retirement Solutions business development director, Nicholas Clapp.

“The new minister could also unlock innovation within the pension industry by passing the legislation required to enable the creation of multi-employer Collective DC pension schemes, currently expected in early 2024. Employers, scheme members and the wider economy could all benefit from their introduction, and we hope to see their increasing adoption in the coming years,” Clapp continued.

“Finally, the expansion of automatic enrolment will also need to be delivered to ensure more people build up their savings for retirement. Auto-enrolment has been incredibly successful in helping people to grow their pension pots, but those aged under 22 and those in part-time work are currently missing out. Raising minimum contribution levels could also lead to a substantial increase in pension savings of millions of workers."

Broader change is also underway, as the reshuffle brought the return of former Prime Minister, David Cameron, who was appointed as Foreign Secretary after James Cleverly was appointed as Home Secretary.

Financial Secretary to the Treasury, Victoria Atkins, meanwhile, has been appointed as Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, while Steve Barclay has been appointed Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

Guy Opperman has also been moved from the DWP to the Department for Transport, while Andrew Griffith has been moved from his position as Economic Secretary to the Treasury to Minister of State for the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology.

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