Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

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Her Majesty's Principal
Secretary of State for Work and Pensions
Royal Coat of Arms of the United Kingdom (HM Government).svg
Thérèse Coffey

since 8 September 2019
Department for Work and Pensions
StyleWork and Pensions Secretary
The Right Honourable
(UK and the Commonwealth)
StatusMinister of the Crown
Member ofCabinet
Privy Council
Reports toThe Prime Minister
AppointerThe Crown
on advice of the Prime Minister
Term lengthAt Her Majesty's Pleasure
Formation10 December 1916
First holderGeorge Barnes
DeputyMinister of State for Employment

The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, also referred to as the Work and Pensions Secretary, is a senior Minister of the Crown within the Government of the United Kingdom, and head of the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). The office forms part of the British Cabinet.

The current Secretary of State for Work and Pensions is Thérèse Coffey, MP since her appointment by Prime Minister Boris Johnson, in September 2019.


Corresponding to what is generally known as a labour minister in many other countries, the Work and Pensions Secretary's remit includes:


It was created on 8 June 2001 by the merger of the Employment division of the Department for Education and Employment and the Department of Social Security.[2]

The Ministry of Pensions was created in 1916 to handle the payment of war pensions to former members of the Armed Forces and their dependants. In 1944 a separate Ministry of National Insurance (titled the Ministry of Social Insurance until 17 November 1944) was formed; the two merged in 1953 as the Ministry of Pensions and National Insurance.[2] In 1966 the Ministry was renamed the Ministry of Social Security, but this was short-lived, as the Ministry merged with the Ministry of Health in 1968 to form the Department of Health and Social Security. Confusingly, the Secretary of State responsible for this Department was titled the Secretary of State for Social Services. The Department was de-merged in 1988, creating the separate Department of Health and Department of Social Security.

Ministers and Secretaries of State[edit]

Colour key (for political parties):
  Labour ‹See Tfd›   Conservative ‹See Tfd›   Liberal ‹See Tfd›   National Labour ‹See Tfd›   National Independent ‹See Tfd›

Minister of Pensions (1916–53)[edit]

Name Term of office Political party Prime Minister
George Nicoll Barnes 10 December 1916 17 August 1917 Labour David Lloyd George
John Hodge 17 August 1917 10 January 1919 Labour
Sir Laming Worthington-Evans, Bt 10 January 1919 2 April 1920 Conservative
Ian Macpherson 2 April 1920 19 October 1922 Liberal
George Tryon 31 October 1922 22 January 1924 Conservative Bonar Law
Stanley Baldwin
Frederick Roberts 23 January 1924 3 November 1924 Labour Ramsay MacDonald
George Tryon 11 November 1924 4 June 1929 Conservative Stanley Baldwin
Frederick Roberts 7 June 1929 24 August 1931 Labour Ramsay MacDonald
George Tryon 3 September 1931 18 June 1935 Conservative Ramsay MacDonald
(1st & 2nd National Min.)
Robert Hudson 18 June 1935 30 July 1936 Conservative Stanley Baldwin
(3rd National Min.)
Herwald Ramsbotham 30 July 1936 7 June 1939 Conservative
Neville Chamberlain
(4th Nat.Min.; War Coalition)
Sir Walter Womersley 7 June 1939 26 July 1945 Conservative
Winston Churchill
(War Coalition; Caretaker Min.)
Wilfred Paling 3 August 1945 17 April 1947 Labour Clement Attlee
John Burns Hynd 17 April 1947 7 October 1947 Labour
George Buchanan 7 October 1947 2 July 1948 Labour
Hilary Marquand 2 July 1948 17 January 1951 Labour
George Isaacs 17 January 1951 26 October 1951 Labour
Derick Heathcoat-Amory 5 November 1951 3 September 1953 Conservative Sir Winston Churchill

Minister of Social Insurance/National Insurance (1944–53)[edit]

Name Term of office Political party Prime Minister
Sir William Jowitt 8 October 1944 23 May 1945 Labour Winston Churchill
(War Coalition)
Leslie Hore-Belisha 25 May 1945 26 July 1945 National Independent Winston Churchill
(Caretaker Min.)
Jim Griffiths 4 August 1945 28 February 1950 Labour Clement Attlee
Edith Summerskill 28 February 1950 26 October 1951 Labour
Osbert Peake 31 October 1951 3 September 1953 Conservative Sir Winston Churchill

Posts of Minister of Pensions and Minister of National Insurance merged in 1953.

Ministers of Pensions and National Insurance (1953–66)[edit]

Name Term of office Political party Prime Minister
Osbert Peake 3 September 1953 20 December 1955 Conservative Sir Winston Churchill
Sir Anthony Eden
John Boyd-Carpenter 20 December 1955 16 July 1962 Conservative
Harold Macmillan
Niall Macpherson 16 July 1962 21 October 1963 Conservative
Richard Wood 21 October 1963 16 October 1964 Conservative Sir Alec Douglas-Home
Margaret Herbison 18 October 1964 6 August 1966 Labour Harold Wilson

Ministers of Social Security (1966–68)[edit]

Name Term of office Political party Prime Minister
Margaret Herbison 6 August 1966 26 July 1967 Labour Harold Wilson
Judith Hart 26 July 1967 1 November 1968 Labour

Secretaries of State for Health and Social Services (1968–88)[edit]

Name Term of office Political party Prime Minister
Richard Crossman 1 November 1968 19 June 1970 Labour Harold Wilson
Sir Keith Joseph 20 June 1970 4 March 1974 Conservative Edward Heath
Barbara Castle 5 March 1974 8 April 1976 Labour Harold Wilson
David Ennals 8 April 1976 4 May 1979 Labour James Callaghan
Patrick Jenkin 5 May 1979 14 September 1981 Conservative Margaret Thatcher
Norman Fowler 14 September 1981 13 June 1987 Conservative
John Moore 13 June 1987 25 July 1988 Conservative
Post split into the Secretary of State for Social Security and the Secretary of State for Health in 1988.

Secretaries of State for Social Security (1988–2001)[edit]

Name Portrait Term of office Political party Prime Minister
John Moore Mr John Moore M.P. addressing the Annual LSE Society Dinner, 5th June, 1985.jpg 25 July 1988 23 July 1989 Conservative Margaret Thatcher
Tony Newton Tony Newton 1995.png 23 July 1989 10 April 1992 Conservative
John Major
Peter Lilley Peter Lilley.jpg 10 April 1992 2 May 1997 Conservative
Harriet Harman Official portrait of Ms Harriet Harman crop 2.jpg 2 May 1997 27 July 1998 Labour Tony Blair
Alistair Darling AlistairDarlingABr cropped.jpg 27 July 1998 8 June 2001 Labour

Secretaries of State for Work and Pensions (2001–present)[edit]

Name Portrait Term of office Political party Prime Minister
Alistair Darling AlistairDarlingABr cropped.jpg 8 June 2001 29 May 2002 Labour Tony Blair
Andrew Smith Andrew Smith MP 20050127.jpg 29 May 2002 8 September 2004 Labour
Alan Johnson Alan Johnson -9Oct2007-2.jpg 8 September 2004 6 May 2005 Labour
David Blunkett David Blunkett -8April2010.jpg 6 May 2005 2 November 2005 Labour
John Hutton Msc 2009-Sunday, 11.00 - 12.30 Uhr-Zwez 005 Hutton detail.jpg 2 November 2005 27 June 2007 Labour
Peter Hain Official portrait of Lord Hain crop 2.jpg 28 June 2007 24 January 2008 Labour Gordon Brown
James Purnell James Purnell Ministerial portrait.jpg 24 January 2008 4 June 2009 Labour
Yvette Cooper Official portrait of Yvette Cooper crop 2.jpg 5 June 2009 11 May 2010 Labour
Iain Duncan Smith Official portrait of Mr Iain Duncan Smith crop 2.jpg 12 May 2010 18 March 2016 Conservative David Cameron
David Cameron
Stephen Crabb Official portrait of Stephen Crabb crop 2.jpg 19 March 2016 14 July 2016 Conservative
Damian Green Official portrait of Damian Green crop 2.jpg 14 July 2016 11 June 2017 Conservative Theresa May
David Gauke Official portrait of Mr David Gauke crop 2.jpg 11 June 2017 8 January 2018 Conservative Theresa May
Esther McVey Official portrait of Esther McVey crop 2.jpg 8 January 2018 15 November 2018 Conservative
Amber Rudd Official portrait of Amber Rudd crop 2.jpg 16 November 2018 7 September 2019 Conservative
Boris Johnson


Thérèse Coffey CsHBoP4f.jpg 8 September 2019 Incumbent Conservative
Boris Johnson


See also[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^ a b Department for Work and Pensions. "A century of support: Department for Work and Pensions turns 100 years old". Department for Work and Pensions. Retrieved 29 May 2019.