Welfare minister Lord Freud to retire from role
Minister for welfare reform Lord Freud is to retire from his ministerial position at the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) at the end of December.
Known as the architect of welfare reform, Lord Freud has overseen the inception, development, and introduction of Universal Credit.
Having been at the DWP since 2010, the 66-year-old peer is the UK government’s longest serving minister in the same role.
Announcing his retirement, Lord Freud said: “At the heart of our reforms is desire to give people independence to improve their lives. For too long, people have been trapped by a byzantine benefits system, leaving them powerless.
“This has always been my driving force; to give people back control over their own lives; to give support in times of need but also to give a clear route out of the benefits system and into independence.
“That’s what universal credit does, and I’m incredibly proud of what we have achieved.”
Damian Green, the work and pensions secretary, paid tribute to the peer.
“Everyone comes into government to make a difference but David’s contribution to transforming the welfare system has been outstanding,” he said.
However, the Public and Commercial Services union was less generous.
“Among staff in DWP, unemployed, sick and disabled people, there’ll be no mourning the loss of a man who injected poison into our social security system,” declared a union spokesman.
“For years Freud has been at the heart of the cruel and dangerous upheaval of our employment and benefits services, and we’ll be glad to see the back of him.”
Before becoming a minister, David Freud had a career as a journalist, writing for the Financial Times. He then worked in the City for 20 years, becoming vice-chairman of investment banking at UBS. Following this he was the CEO of the Portland Trust foundation for 3 years.
Lord Freud was appointed shadow minister for welfare reform in February 2009, having previously advised the Labour government on how to reform the welfare system. In 2010, he was appointed Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Welfare Reform at the Department for Work and Pensions, and was reappointed as Minister of State for Welfare Reform in May 2015.
The appointment of a successor DWP Minister in the House of Lords will be announced in due course.