New Cabinet: Mel Stride MP appointed Secretary of State at the Department of Work and Pensions

Former chairman of the Treasury Select Committee, Mel Stride has been appointed secretary of state for the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP), replacing Chloe Smith.

Stride was Rishi Sunak’s campaign manager in his successful bid to become Prime Minister.

Commenting on the appointment, Steve Butler, CEO of Punter Southall Aspire, said:

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“I’d like to congratulate Mel Stride on his appointment.

“We are now on our third Work and Pensions Secretary this year. Change of leadership in the Department is not conducive to delivering the long-term reform that the pensions system needs.

“The pensions system is critical to the UK’s financial wellbeing. The cost-of-living crisis will inevitably impact the living standards of retirees and deter people from saving for the long term – we are already seeing evidence of this. It is vital that the government provides help to people during this crisis, but I also want to see the government tackle structural issues within the pensions system to improve and encourage lifetime savings in Britain.

“There are three major issues that the new Work and Pensions Secretary must address.

“Auto-enrolment rules need to be changed to help address the gender pension gap and help women save more. The system should be altered so that, for example, if a woman is on a career break to look after children, her employer can pay into her pension pot even though she’s not working. The minimum age and salary level at which you can be auto-enrolled should be lowered so that younger or part-time workers can save, which will help women too.

“The rules for accessing pensions savings and annual savings allowances must be more flexible to reflect that we’re living longer and spending more time in retirement. The Money Purchase Annual Allowance is a major blocker to true pension freedom, and it should be reformed so that people aren’t penalised for accessing their long-term savings.

“The Department must build greater awareness of the Pension Tracing Service to help people locate their lost pensions. There is nearly £20bn in unclaimed pensions, so the government should be doing more to encourage people to find their misplaced savings.”

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Lisa Baker is the Editor of International Business News. As the Owner of Need to See IT Publishing, Lisa is an experienced business and technology journalist and publisher.