Therese Coffey is the new secretary of state for the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP), following the resignation by Amber Rudd at the weekend.
Coffey becomes the seventh minister to hold this role in the space of just three years.
For the past three years Coffey has been the environment minister within the Department of Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).
Coffey was elected as an MP in 2010. She has previously worked as an assistant government whip, has been a member of the Culture Media and Sports committee, and was also the parliamentary private secretary for Michael Fallon when he was at the Department of Business and Energy.
Previously she has attracted controversy for publishing a paper suggesting that pensioners should pay national insurance.
Quilter’s head of retirement policy Jon Greer says: “Since Iain Duncan Smith left the role after six years in March 2016, we have seen a string of politicians come and go from this cabinet role.
“It’s simply impossible for the public to have faith in any enacted policy when the leadership of the department chops and changes so frequently. The only hope is that the next minister stays for more than one calendar year.”
Greer say that Coffey faces a number of “pressing problems” within the department.
“The impending ramifications of Brexit will mean that the new secretary won’t have long to put together a plan for state pension indexing for expats living in Europe.
“At present the government has committed to uprating of the UK state pension for recipients living in the EU for the next three years – an announcement that has given expat pensioners little comfort.
“While Rudd has made some progress with the pension dashboard there is still an awfully long way to go with this project. For the dashboard to become a reality the next secretary must grab the bull by the horns and run with it for more than a just a few months, as making this a reality will take a huge amount of engagement from both the public and private sector, which won’t happen overnight.”
Given his involvement in the project to date, Greer said it would “useful” if Guy Opperman, the parliamentary under-secretary for pensions, were to remain in his role.
Other ministers to head up the DWP in recent years include Damian Green, David Gauke, Esther McVey, and Stephen Crabb.
Green held the role for the longest — at 11 months — while Crabb was held onto this job for just four months.
Amber Rudd resigned after disagreement with the government about its lack of action to secure a Brexit deal.