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Secretary of State for Health and Social Security

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Secretary of State for Health and Social Security

United Kingdom
Secretary of State for
Work and Pensions
Her Majesty's Government
Iain Duncan Smith
since 12 May 2010
Department for Work and Pensions
Style The Right Honourable
Appointer Elizabeth II
Inaugural holder George Barnes
Formation 10 December 1916
Website Work and Pensions

The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions is a post in the British Cabinet, responsible for the Department for Work and Pensions. It was created on 8 June 2001 by the merger of the Employment part of the Department for Education and Employment and the Department of Social Security.

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 (initially titled the Ministry of Social Insurance, it changed its name on 17 November 1944) was formed; the two merged in 1953 as the Ministry of Pensions and National Insurance. 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

Colour key (for political parties):
      Labour       Liberal       Conservative       National Labour       National Independent

Minister of Pensions (1916–1953)

Name Term of office Political party Prime Minister
George Nicoll Barnes 10 December 1916 17 August 1917 Labour David Lloyd George
(Coalition)
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.)

Neville Chamberlain
(4th Nat.Min.; War Coalition)


Winston Churchill
(War Coalition)

Herwald Ramsbotham 30 July 1936 7 June 1939 Conservative
Sir Walter Womersley 7 June 1939 26 July 1945 Conservative
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 (1944–1953)

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 (1953–1966)

Name Term of office Political party Prime Minister
Osbert Peake 3 September 1953 20 December 1955 Conservative Sir Winston Churchill

Sir Anthony Eden


Harold Macmillan

John Boyd-Carpenter 20 December 1955 16 July 1962 Conservative
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 (1966–1968)

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 (1968–1988)

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)

Name Term of office Political party Prime Minister
John Moore 25 July 1988 23 July 1989 Conservative Margaret Thatcher
Tony Newton 23 July 1989 10 April 1992 Conservative
John Major
Peter Lilley 10 April 1992 2 May 1997 Conservative
Harriet Harman 3 May 1997 27 July 1998 Labour Tony Blair
Alistair Darling 27 July 1998 8 June 2001 Labour

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

Name Portrait Term of office Political party Prime Minister
Alistair Darling 8 June 2001 29 May 2002 Labour Tony Blair
Andrew Smith 29 May 2002 8 September 2004 Labour
Alan Johnson 8 September 2004 6 May 2005 Labour
David Blunkett 6 May 2005 2 November 2005 Labour
John Hutton 2 November 2005 27 June 2007 Labour
Peter Hain 28 June 2007 24 January 2008 Labour Gordon Brown
James Purnell 24 January 2008 4 June 2009 Labour
Yvette Cooper 5 June 2009 11 May 2010 Labour
Iain Duncan Smith 12 May 2010 Incumbent Conservative David Cameron
(Coalition)

See also

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