Stephen Timms named as UK WPC chair

UK Labour MP for East Ham, Stephen Timms, has been named as the new chair of the Work and Pensions Select Committee.

Reported in our sister publication, Pensions Age, his appointment was announced by the Speaker yesterday (29 January) following a parliamentary ballot.

He takes the role after Frank Field lost his parliamentary seat of Birkenhead in the most recent General Election (12 December 2019) after 40 years as the town's MP and had to step down as the committee chair.

Commenting on his appointment, Timms said: "It's a huge privilege to be elected chair. The committee has a great deal on its plate in this parliament.

"We will play a constructive role, particularly in ensuring - as MPs across the House intend - that out constituents experience of Universal Credit is taken fully into account as rollout proceeds."

Timms, who had 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 stated: “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.”

The unsuccessful candidates were MP for Oldham East and Saddleworth, Debbie Abrahams, MP for Rhondda, Chris Bryant, and MP for Westminster North, Karen Buck.

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