Work and Pensions Committee chair nominees finalised

Candidates for the Work and Pensions Select Committee chair have been announced, with the nomination deadline passing today (27 January).

The election of the chairs will take place on Wednesday (29 January).

The chair will be from the Labour party and will follow the previous Labour leader of the committee, Frank Field, who had to step down after he lost his seat in the most recent General Election.

Candidates include MP for Oldham East and Saddleworth, Debbie Abrahams, MP for Rhondda, Chris Bryant, MP for Westminster North, Karen Buck and MP for East Ham, Stephen Timms.

Each candidate has widespread support from within their own party.

Abrahams said that she was standing as she feels passionate about the social security system, that there were opportunities for success and that she has “wide-ranging skills, knowledge and experience that will enable me to chair the select committee in a positive, collaborative and effective way.”

She continued: “I am committed to working with all members of the select committee in an inclusive and collaborative way to ensure we scrutinise government policy while producing workable recommendations for Ministers.”

Bryant was previously Shadow Welfare Minister and said that he represents a community that has “ long suffered from multiple levels of deprivation I know many of the areas of DWP policy that need urgent attention”.

He added that areas that needed action were developments in auto-enrolment, and changes to the state pension and Pension Credit.

Buck’s supporters include Yvette Cooper and Gareth Thomas.

Finally, Timms, who has the support of Hilary Benn and David Lammy, has been Minister for Pensions twice. He was also Shadow Minister for Pensions in 2010-2015 and chairs the Parliamentry Labour Party’s backbench DWP Committee.

On pensions, he said: “The committee’s important work in monitoring progress with auto-enrolment and the pensions dashboard must continue. I welcome the cross-party consensus in favour of collective defined contribution pensions.

“Too many of those taking advantage of pension freedoms have fallen prey to fraudsters. The committee should review the protections and support in place for savers.”

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