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Leicestershire Centre for Integrated Living

A quick guide to new care minister Alistair Burt

Date: 13/5/2015
Summary: Conservative MP Alistair Burt has been appointed as care and support minister in the reshuffle following the general election. He replaces Norman Lamb, a Lib Dem who had held the position since September 2012. We’ve put together a quick guide to the new man in charge.

Previous roles

Burt’s ministerial career began in 1992, when he served as parliamentary under-secretary of state, then minister of state for disabled people, in the now defunct Department of Social Security.

Burt lost his seat as MP for Bury North in 1997, when Tony Blair’s Labour party swept into power. He worked in the not-for-profit sector for four years, before becoming the MP for North East Bedfordshire in 2001, a seat he has held ever since. While the Conservatives were in opposition, he served in various roles, including as shadow minister for communities and regeneration between 2005 and 2008.

In 2010, when the Conservatives came into power in coalition with the Lib Dems, Burt was appointed as parliamentary under-secretary of state for foreign and commonwealth affairs. As part of this role, he oversaw the government’s policy in Syria during the period when civil war broke out in the country, and criticised the failure of MPs to back military action against the Assad regime. He lost his ministerial post in the 2013 autumn reshuffle.

Big shoes to fill

Burt replaces Norman Lamb as care minister, and said on Twitter that he follows a “decent and hard working compassionate colleague”, and is keen to “listen to him and build upon his work”. Lamb was generally popular in the social care sector for his work on the Care Act and clear passion for improving mental health services, in particular.


As care minister, Burt will be responsible for:

He will also be in charge of seeing the Care Act through, with the cap on care costs due to take effect in April 2016.

In the last few months of his ministerial role, Lamb unveiled a green paper of proposals to give people with learning disabilities more rights around the care they receive. This is under consultation, and it will then be up to Burt if he wants to try to make this into policy. It will be a good test of his priorities.

What he’s voted for

According to They Work for You, a website that keeps track of MPs’ votes and answers, Burt voted moderately for a reduction in spending on welfare benefits. He also voted moderately in favour of the bedroom tax, and very strongly for gay marriage.

Other interests

Burt is president of Carers in Bedfordshire, a charity supporting carers with mental and physical health issues. His website states that he “has been active in issues regarding carers”. He is an active Christian, and in a 2008 debate in parliament on human fertilisation and embryology, he stated: “I have a Christian world view … It is not much of a secret, either in this place or my constituency. I do not believe in an impersonal universe – one made up of random collections of matter and energy. I believe that there is a God.”

Other care ministers

Burt’s appointment is the most significant change to the ministerial landscape for social care. Jeremy Hunt remains as health secretary, and Nicky Morgan as education secretary. Eric Pickles has been replaced by Greg Clarke as communities and local government secretary. Edward Timpson, previously an under-secretary of state in the education department, has been promoted to minister of state for children and families. He takes on responsibilities around child poverty, childcare and special educational needs, rather than his previous brief of adoption, fostering and child protection.

Source The Guardian

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