Guy Opperman reinstated as Pensions Minister

Guy Opperman MP has been reinstated as Pensions Minister, having resigned from the post on 7 July.

Opperman announced his return as a Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department of Work and Pensions on Twitter on 8 July, stating that he has “agreed to help DWP navigate the next few weeks, while we decide the appointment of a new Prime Minister”.

“With House of Commons questions on Monday, legislation/regulations in parliament the next two weeks, and the extra cost of living support for pensioners to be organised with the start of the cost of living support next week of £650, energy support grant of £400 in October extra £300 winter fuel payment and continued expansion and take up of pension credit, worth £3,300 on average plus urgent work on dashboard, superfunds, defined benefit issues, an outstanding ESG consultation, ongoing correction exercises, and three to four pending Private Members' Bills means that when the Chief Whip asked me to help until the new PM was chosen I agreed,” he tweeted.

On Thursday, 7 July, Opperman resigned from his position in government as Pensions Minister, following in the footsteps of over 50 other ministers in Prime Minister, Boris Johnson's, government who felt that Johnson's position as Prime Minister and leader of the Conservative Party was untenable.

In his resignation letter, dated 6 July 2022, which he posted on Twitter, 7 July, Opperman said: "It has been the honour of my life to serve as a government minister, under three successive Prime Ministers, including these last five years as Pensions Minister. My view is that it is important to work as a team and deliver on the priorities that matter most to my constituents in Northumberland…

"I am proud of what we have achieved at the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). I want to put on record my thanks to the DWP civil servants and ministerial teams I have worked with to produce and pass five acts of parliament, grow workplace and state pensions to record levels, and passing the ground-breaking Pension Schemes Act that dramatically reforms pensions in the UK," he wrote.

Opperman became the longest-serving Pensions Minister on 11 June 2022, having surpassed the 1,822 days Steve Webb was in the job between 12 May 2010 and 8 May 2015.

Commenting on his reappointment, Aegon head of pensions, Kate Smith, said: “Barely a day out of office and Guy Opperman is back as Pensions Minister. This is good news for pensions with the minister given more time to finish at least some of what he started, giving much needed continuity rather than disruption.

“Opperman’s resignation had rung alarms bells with the pension industry as it could have put the pension dashboard progress in peril. Now it looks like it’s back on track and we’re expecting the government’s response to its consultation on the draft regulations, including confirmation of the implementation timeline imminently.

“Opperman has agreed to ‘steady the pensions ship’ until the new Prime Minister is in place when parliament returns after its summer break. He has been the longest serving Pensions Minister and has built up a wealth of experience. He is introducing a number of far-reaching policy initiatives, some of which are in mid-flight, including the pension engagement season.

"Pensions policy is a hive of activity and it’s important that it remains on track, with a priority to try to improve member understanding and engagement with their pensions. Time will tell if a new Prime Minister ultimately leads to a new Pensions Minister with different ideas and priorities.”

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