Ministerial role

Secretary of State for Work and Pensions


The Secretary of State has overall responsibility for the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). They have direct responsibility for departmental expenditure and departmental management.

DWP is responsible for the administration of the State Pension and working age benefits system, providing support to:

  • people of working age
  • employers
  • pensioners
  • families and children
  • disabled people

Current role holder: The Rt Hon Esther McVey

Esther McVey was appointed Secretary of State for Work and Pensions on 8 January 2018. She was Treasurer of HM Household (Deputy Chief Whip) from November 2017 to January 2018. She was Minister of State for Employment from 2013 to 2015. She was elected Conservative MP for Tatton in June 2017 and was a Conservative MP for Wirral West from 2010 to 2015.


Esther graduated in law before becoming a graduate trainee with the BBC in 1991. She returned to Liverpool John Moore’s university in 2008 to do an MSc in corporate governance.

Political career

Esther was the first MP to employ an apprentice and got the House of Commons authorities to introduce the scheme.

Career outside politics

After leaving the BBC, Esther worked as a broadcaster and a journalist, presenting and producing programmes such as GMTV, a legal series for Channel 4, a BBC consumer show and a BBC science show.

In 2000, she established her own business setting up office space for new start-up companies as well as establishing the biggest business women’s network in the north west.

She has written a careers book “If Chloe can”, which was turned into a play and performed at the National Youth Theatre.

Personal life

Esther is passionate about issues such as careers, youth unemployment, apprenticeships, investment and business growth.

Previous holders of this role

  1. The Rt Hon David Gauke MP

    • 2017 to 2018
  2. The Rt Hon Damian Green MP

    • 2016 to 2017
  3. The Rt Hon Stephen Crabb

    • 2016 to 2016
  4. The Rt Hon Iain Duncan Smith

    • 2010 to 2016


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  1. Youth unemployment down 50% since 2010

    • Press release
  2. Department for Work and Pensions Director of Communications appointment

    • News story
  3. Government launches new collaboration with Barnardo's to support care leavers into work

    • Press release
  4. Citizens Advice to provide support to Universal Credit claimants

    • Press release
  5. Automatic enrolment breathing new life into Britain’s retirement prospects

    • News story
  6. Secretary of State urges parents not to “miss out” on National Insurance credits

    • Press release
  7. Number of children in homes without work plummets by 637,000 since 2010

    • Press release
  8. Unemployment rate falls to 4%, with record low youth unemployment

    • Press release
  9. Increased funding announced for disabled people with the greatest barriers to work

    • Press release
  10. The way forward: personalisation and digitalisation of benefits and support

    • Speech