Damian Green, the new Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, has today welcomed the department’s new ministerial team.
The new team at the Department for Work and Pensions is:
- Secretary of State – Rt Hon Damian Green MP
- Minister of State for Employment – Damian Hinds MP
- Minister of State for Disabled People, Work and Health – Penny Mordaunt MP
- Minister of State for Welfare Reform – Rt Hon Lord David Freud
- Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Pensions – Richard Harrington MP
- Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Welfare Delivery – Caroline Nokes MP
Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Damian Green said:
“I’m delighted to be leading one of the most important departments in government. What we do here directly affects millions of people, from all parts of the country, and at all stages of their lives.
“I’d like to welcome the new ministerial team to the department – Damian, Penny, Richard, Caroline – and welcome back David. Together we will work hard to continue reforming welfare, supporting disabled people, ensuring older people have a secure retirement, and making sure everyone who can work has the opportunities they need to get on in life, whatever their background.”
Minister for Employment, Damian Hinds said:
“This government is determined to make Britain a country that works for everyone, and employment has a central role to play. We are in a position of strength with a record number of people in work, including more women than ever before, and behind the statistics are countless stories of individual hard-work and determination.
“I look forward to working closely with my colleagues across government and industry to ensure this positive trend continues and more people of all ages and abilities get into, and stay, in work”.
Minister for Disabled People, Work and Health, Penny Mordaunt said:
“It is a privilege to be given the chance to improve the social and employment opportunities for the millions of disabled people across the UK. I will do all I can to improve support for people with disabilities and health conditions, help more people into work and ensure they have every opportunity to thrive.”
Minister for Welfare Reform, Lord Freud said:
“Our reforms are revolutionising welfare and ensuring we have a system which provides the opportunity for people to take control over their own lives.
“The rollout of Universal Credit is well underway and it is already changing people’s lives for the better, with people moving into work faster and staying in work longer than under the old system. So it is a privilege to be back in government to continue with our vital reforms.”
Minister for Welfare Delivery, Caroline Nokes said:
“We’re delivering some of the biggest reforms in generations, which are already improving people’s lives for the better. It is vital that these are delivered safely and securely, so I’m looking forward to continuing this important work – restoring fairness to the system while ensuring we help as many people as possible to reach their potential.”
From our calculations, there have been five Employment Minister’s in the past six years. So how will the sector respond to the news of the new team?
Sector Response to the news:
David Hughes, Chief Executive of the Learning and Work Institute commented:
“We’re delighted to welcome the new Ministerial team and look forward to working with them. They are joining at a critical time, with an already huge reform agenda across employment and welfare and now the added challenges of Brexit casting a cloud over the jobs market.
“Damian Green and his team will need dust down the evidence from 2008 and make sure that the right support is available for people who may now struggle to find work. It is also important not to lose sight of the big structural challenges that we face around low pay, low skills and employment of disabled people. This will be a difficult balance, but it’s welcome to see Ministers of State both for Employment and for Disability, and a new Secretary of State who clearly sees the importance of this agenda.”
Kirsty McHugh, Chief Executive of the Employment Related Services Association (ERSA), said:
“We welcome the appointment of the new ministerial team at the DWP and look forward to working with them to meet the challenge ahead – not only to meet existing commitments around halving the disability employment gap, but also in relation to increased economic uncertainty and potential impacts on the labour market.
“In the immediate term, we need ministers to prioritise the letting of delayed ESF contracts and rethinking the shape and size of the Work and Health Programme. In the longer term, we must help them safeguard spending on vital employment and skills programmes, post ESF.”
ERSA is calling for the new DWP Ministerial team to focus on the following three items.
- Prioritise letting of the ESF contracts in line with practice by the Big Lottery Fund and Skills Funding Agency. Make sure that money which is rightly owed to the UK from the EU during this period of continued membership of the European Union is not lost to the nation’s jobseekers. Delay will mean that the period for delivery is truncated which is not in the interests of employers, jobseekers or the public purse.
- Rethink the shape and size of the Work and Health Programme. The minimum spend announced in the Financial Statement was accepted by previous ministers and officials, plus disability campaigners, as wholly inadequate, particularly given the aim of halving the disability employment gap. This was going to be boosted, including with ESF. The level of economic uncertainty ahead means that the programme may need to be radically flexed up over the contracts’ life. The ask is therefore to ensure that additional monies are added to the programme at the outset and that a deal is struck with HM Treasury to make this an uncapped programme, allowing it to be expanded in future.
- Safeguard the level of social spending lost to England and Wales post European Union exit. ESF has funded vital programmes at local and national level over many years. The UK has developed a world class employment support sector. This needs safeguarding for the future.
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