I wasn’t a fan of the Ros Altmann appointment as Pension Minister and am not unhappy to see her go. She has been a good champion of pension’s miss-selling and other inadequacies in our present system, but she has also been a champion of her own profile. A bit of self-promotion is okay so long as you get the right things done. But in her time as Pension Minister, frankly, she didn’t.
She appeared to put on hold Steve Webb’s Defined Ambition agenda but didn’t push through anything else in its place. She was caught out, seemingly, by Treasury initiatives around lifetime ISAs, and her most publicised comments during her tenure were not on the subject of pensions but her critical observations relating to her then-boss Iain Duncan-Smith.
As she continues to speak for pensions from her seat in the House of Lords, it is likely to be as a populist voice for change, but without the detailed knowledge of how to do it- something else that exposed her during her time as minister.
And I expect we will see a return to the OTT headlines in the Daily Express with Ros Altmann quoted as the expert. I suspect that many of these headlines in the past were her own creations and necessarily lessened whilst she was Pension Minister.
The more junior appointments that follow her tenure suggest a greater hold of pension policy at the Treasury as well as reflecting a perceived government view that pensions doesn’t need high profile ministers.