Blair secretary to head new poverty unit

Glenda Cooper
Tuesday 30 September 1997 23:02

Moira Wallace, private secretary to Tony Blair and formerly to John Major, has been chosen to head up the Government's new social-exclusion unit.

The taskforce, announced by Peter Mandelson, Minister without Portfolio, in August, will work across departments and aims to develop policies to prevent social problems as well as combating deprivation.

Ms Wallace, 36, a graduate of Cambridge and a former Kennedy scholar at Harvard, is at present number three in the Prime Minister's private office in a role which includes Treasury, education, social security and trade and industry matters.

A high-flying career civil servant, she held the same post under Mr Major when he was at Number 10 and was also private secretary for Mr Major and Nigel Lawson when they were chancellors, working on public spending. She was made OBE in Mr Major's resignation honours.

She is said to see the core of the job as "making government work better" while providing a channel to Whitehall for people with successful local projects who could help identify ways in which government policies could be made to gel better.

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