Milburn addressing the NHS Confederation Conference in 2014
|Chancellor of Lancaster University|
|Assumed office |
1 January 2015
|Preceded by||Chris Bonington|
|Chair of the Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission|
10 July 2012 – 2 December 2017
|Appointed by||Nick Clegg|
|Prime Minister||David Cameron|
|Preceded by||Office established|
|Succeeded by||Dame Martina Jane Milburn|
|Minister for the Cabinet Office|
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
8 September 2004 – 6 May 2005
|Prime Minister||Tony Blair|
|Preceded by||Douglas Alexander|
|Succeeded by||John Hutton|
|Secretary of State for Health|
11 October 1999 – 13 June 2003
|Prime Minister||Tony Blair|
|Preceded by||Frank Dobson|
|Succeeded by||John Reid|
|Chief Secretary to the Treasury|
23 December 1998 – 11 October 1999
|Prime Minister||Tony Blair|
|Preceded by||Stephen Byers|
|Succeeded by||Andrew Smith|
|Member of Parliament|
10 April 1992 – 12 April 2010
|Preceded by||Michael Fallon|
|Succeeded by||Jenny Chapman|
|Born||27 January 1958|
|Alma mater||Lancaster University|
Alan Milburn (born 27 January 1958) is a British Labour politician who was Member of Parliament (MP) for Darlington from 1992 to 2010. He served for five years in the Cabinet, first as Chief Secretary to the Treasury from 1998 to 1999, and subsequently as Secretary of State for Health until 2003, when he resigned. He briefly rejoined the Cabinet as Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster in order to manage Labour's 2005 re-election campaign. He did not seek re-election in the 2010 election.
He was educated at John Marlay School, Newcastle and Stokesley Comprehensive School. He went on to Lancaster University, where he resided at Pendle College and graduated in 1979 with a Bachelor of Arts degree with Upper Second Class Honours in History. After leaving university, he returned to Newcastle where, with Martin Spence, he operated a small radical bookshop in the Westgate Road, called Days of Hope (the shop was given the spoonerised nickname Haze of Dope). He also studied for a PhD at Newcastle University, but did not complete his thesis. In 1981 he married future Labour MEP Mo O'Toole, but the couple split up in the late 1980s.
Milburn was Co-ordinator of the Trade Union Studies Information Unit (TUSIU) from the mid-1980s onwards.
From 1988, Milburn co-ordinated a campaign to defend shipbuilding in Sunderland, and was elected as Chairman of Newcastle-upon-Tyne Central Constituency Labour Party. In 1990 he was appointed as a Business Development Officer for North Tyneside Borough Council and elected as President of the North East Region of the Manufacturing Science and Finance (MSF) Trade Union. Meanwhile, he won the seat of Darlington in the 1992 general election.
In Parliament, Milburn allied himself with the Blairite modernisers in the Labour Party, becoming close to Tony Blair who sat for the next-door constituency of Sedgefield. Later the political editor of the New Statesman wrote that "Alan Milburn is regarded by most in Labour as the epitome of Blairite centrism and moderation."
In 1997 he was appointed as Minister of State at the Department of Health, an important post in which he had responsibility for driving through Private Finance Initiative deals on hospitals. In the reshuffle caused by Peter Mandelson's resignation on 23 December 1998, Milburn was promoted to the Cabinet as Chief Secretary to the Treasury.
He became Secretary of State for Health in October 1999, with responsibility for continuing the reduction in waiting times and delivering modernisation in the National Health Service (NHS). In 2002 Milburn introduced NHS foundation trusts, "described at the time as a sort of halfway house between the public and private sectors". The government increased expenditure on the NHS, although the public was sceptical over claims of improved performance.
Milburn was thought to be a candidate for promotion within the Government, but on the day of a reshuffle (12 June 2003) he announced his resignation. He cited the difficulties combining family life in North-East England with a demanding job in London as his reason for quitting.
While on the backbenches he continued to be a strong supporter of Tony Blair's policies, especially his continued policy of increased private involvement in public service provision. Following his resignation as Secretary of State for Health (to spend more time with his family), Milburn took a post for £30,000 a year as an advisor to Bridgepoint Capital, a venture capital firm heavily involved in financing private health-care firms moving into the NHS, including Alliance Medical, Match Group, Medica and the Robinia Care Group.
He returned to government in September 2004, with the title of Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster. He was brought back to lead the Labour Party's campaign in the 2005 general election, but the unsuccessful start to the campaign led to Milburn taking a back seat, with Gordon Brown returning to take a very prominent role.
On election night in 2005, he announced he would be leaving the Cabinet for a second time, although rumours persisted that he would challenge Gordon Brown for the succession. On 27 June 2007, Brown subsequently assumed the prime ministerial role unopposed. On 8 September 2006, after Tony Blair had announced his intention to step down within a year, Charles Clarke suggested Milburn as leader in place of Brown. On 28 February 2007, he and Clarke launched The 2020 Vision, a website intended to promote policy debate in the Labour Party.
He was the honorary president of the political organisation Progress, which was founded by Derek Draper. In 2007, Milburn worked as an advisor to Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and again in 2010 acted as an advisor to the election campaign of Julia Gillard. Between January and July 2009, Milburn chaired a governmental commission on social mobility, the Panel on Fair Access to the Professions. The Panel reported in July 2009 with recommendations to improve social mobility by acting at every life stage – including through schools, universities, internship practices and recruitment processes.
In 2007, Milburn became a paid advisor to PepsiCo and sat on its nutritional advisory board. By the time he stood down from parliament, Milburn had an income at least £115,000 a year from five companies.
In June 2009, he told his local party he would not be standing at the 2010 general election, saying: "Standing down as a MP will give me the chance to balance my work and my family life with the time to pursue challenges other than politics."
Despite the change of government following the May 2010 General Election, it was reported in August 2010 that Milburn had been offered a role in the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition as "social mobility tsar". Although not officially politically-affiliated, the role would involve advising the government on how to break down social barriers for people from disadvantaged backgrounds, and help people who feel they are barred from top jobs on grounds of race, religion, gender or disability. Milburn provoked criticism from former Cabinet colleague John Prescott, and his former ally Andy Burnham, for advising the government. However, David Miliband defended Milburn claiming that he was serving the country and was not working for the Coalition Government.
In 2011, Milburn was asked by Andrew Lansley to chair the new clinical commissioning board, as part of the Coalition Government's health reforms but he rejected the offer labelling the reforms as "privatization", "cuts" and a "car crash".
In 2011, Milburn contributed to The Purple Book (alongside other key figures in the Labour Party such as Ed Miliband, Peter Mandelson, Jacqui Smith, Liam Byrne, Tessa Jowell, Tristram Hunt, Stephen Twigg, Rachel Reeves and Liz Kendall). In the book, he called for the Labour Party to adopt a policy of "educational credit", a system whereby lower and middle-income families whose children attend failing schools can withdraw their children and get funding, worth 150% the cost of education at the failing school, in order to pay for a place at a higher achieving school for the child, with the money coming from the budget of the failing school. The policy was rejected by the leftwing MP Michael Meacher but was welcomed by Labour's Shadow Education Secretary Stephen Twigg and other shadow cabinet members.
In 2012, a senior Number 10 adviser called for Andrew Lansley to be "taken out and shot" for introducing the Health and Social Care bill despite widespread opposition, and that Alan Milburn should be ennobled and join the coalition government as Secretary of State for Health. This was rejected by David Cameron and it is understood that Milburn rejected such offer and remained in the Labour Party. He wrote in The Times attacking the reforms, but calling for the left to give an alternative.
In 2013 Milburn joined PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) as Chair of PwC's UK Health Industry Oversight Board, whose objective is to drive change in the health sector, and assist PwC in growing its presence in the health market. Milburn continued to be Chairman of the European Advisory Board at Bridgepoint Capital, whose activities include financing private health care companies providing services ito the NHS, and continued as a member of the Healthcare Advisory Panel at Lloyds Pharmacy.
Early in 2015, Milburn intervened in the British election campaign to criticise Labour's health plans, which would limit private sector involvement in the NHS. Milburn was criticised for doing so while having a personal financial interest in the private health sector. In 2017, Milburn was touted as a possible leader of a pro-EU movement after Brexit.
|Parliament of the United Kingdom|
| Member of Parliament for Darlington
| Chief Secretary to the Treasury
| Secretary of State for Health
| Minister for the Cabinet Office
| Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster|