Pensions minister Mike O’Brien has been moved to the energy and climate change department as part of a cabinet shake up.
O’Brien, minister of state for pensions reform since June 2007 will be replaced by ex-Transport minister Rosie Winterton.
The Cabinet reshuffle will also see Paul Myners resign as chairman of the Personal Accounts Delivery Authority PADA after he was appointed minister for London’s financial district.
But the timing of the change has caused concern, coming the day before the Pensions Bill, overseen by O’Brien, was due to go to the report stage.
Tom McPhail, head of pensions research at Hargreaves Lansdown said: “There are significant unresolved issues around leveling down and means testing, as well as longer term doubts about the infrastructure needed to support Personal Accounts. The new Minister may find she has been given the political equivalent of a hospital pass.”
John Jory, deputy chief executive of B&CE Benefit Schemes, said the company had been in dialogue with O’Brien on helping low earners save for pensions. He said : “We are disappointed that Mike O’Brien has been replaced at this key time for pensions.”