Reshuffle: Former Treasury chief made DWP sec of state

Former chief secretary to the Treasury David Gauke has been named as Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, replacing Damian Greene.

David Gauke MP
David Gauke MP

Gauke was a member of the Treasury Select Committee from February 2006 until he was appointed as a shadow minister for the Treasury in June 2007. As a shadow Treasury minister, he focused on tax policy, including matters such as tax simplification and corporation tax reform. He was appointed Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury in May 2010, and promoted to Financial Secretary to the Treasury in July 2014 where he served until July 2016. He was as Chief Secretary to the Treasury from July 2016 to June 2017.

Green has been made First Secretary of State and Minister for the Cabinet Office, a role seen as effectively deputy Prime Minister.

Gauke read law at Oxford University. After a year working as a parliamentary researcher, he attended Chester College of Law before becoming a trainee solicitor.

Royal London director of policy Steve Webb says: “There are few ministers who could have been appointed to this role who know as much about pensions as David Gauke.  In his five years at the Treasury during the Coalition he played a key role in developing the detail of the pension freedoms and was a keen supporter of automatic enrolment.  I always found him to be knowledgeable and willing to engage in discussion and debate.

“However, as Secretary of State at the DWP there will be many other issues to take up his time, including welfare reform, disability benefits and employment policy. The lack of an outright Conservative majority means radical reform in any area will be hard to get through Parliament, but we may see sensible incremental changes as a result of the review of automatic enrolment. As a former Chief Secretary to the Treasury he will be used to focusing on keeping spending under control, but political pressures may mean savings on the triple lock and on winter fuel payments have to be kicked into the long grass.”

ABI director general Huw Evans says: “Our members look to us to be a leading voice of the sector and, as with any election, we have a strategy ready for engaging with new MPs and ministers to put long-term savings providers’ perspectives on public policy firmly on the table. We are also launching a new campaign about how our industry is ‘Helping Britain Thrive’, emphasising how the insurance sector helps our economy grow and acts as a vital employer, enabler and investor in regions across the UK.

“We’ve worked closely with David Gauke during his seven years at Treasury and he is an excellent appointment to DWP, where his knowledge of the pension reforms and understanding of economics on both a national and individual scale will be invaluable. We are dedicated to taking forwards the project to develop pensions dashboards where close working with both HMT and DWP will be essential, and we look forward to engaging with David Gauke and his ministerial team on the future success of this vital innovation, together with work on the next stage of auto-enrolment, the role of protection insurance in helping welfare reform and stability of the pensions system.”