Academic and politician
Born July 1,1947:Died September 29 2012
MALCOLM Wicks, who has died aged 65 after suffering from cancer, was an MP and academic who served in both the Blair and Brown administrations, taking on a variety of roles in government, including minister for energy..
As pensions minister he fought to stop age discrimination in the workplace and pressed for a lower pension age for those from poorer backgrounds as they have a lower life expectancy.
As a Commons backbencher he pushed through the 1995 Carers Act, which recognised the role of family carers, and a further private member's Bill in 2009 modernising the legal framework for co-operatives and credit unions.
He was born at Hatfield, Hertfordshire, the son of Arthur Wicks, who went on to become Labour chairman of the London County Council and Greater London Council and after leaving school read sociology at the LSE.
Graduating in 1968, he taught at York and BruneluUniversities before joining the Home Office's Urban Deprivation Unit in 1974 as a social policy analyst. After three years he left to lecture at the Civil Service College before becoming research director of the Study Commission on the Family; from 1983 until his election to Parliament he was director of the Family Policy Studies Centre, and a member of the European Commission's family policy observatory. His work at the Home Office triggered a passion for the plight of elderly people who struggled to pay their fuel bills, and in 1978 he published Old and Cold: hypothermia and social policy, which became a standard text.
He chaired Croydon Labour Party, stood several times for Croydon council and in 1987 fought Croydon North-West. Five years later he stood again, overcoming a majority of 3,988 to unseat the sitting Conservative MP, the first time Labour had captured the seat. He held the constituency, redrawn in 1997 as Croydon North, with a steadily growing majority.
In 1999 Tony Blair appointed him Minister for Lifelong Learning at the Department for Education and Employment under David Blunkett and after the 2001 election he spent four years, first as Parliamentary Under Secretary, then from 2003 as Minister of State.
In May 2005 he was moved to the DTI as Minister for Energy before taking on the science portfolio a year later. But after just eight months Gordon Brown moved him back to what he renamed the Department for Business to resume his work as Minister for Energy.
His ministerial career ended in October 2008. But Mr Brown made him a privy councillor special representative on international energy issues. He co-wrote several books on social policy, and was a vice-president of Carers UK and the Alzheimer's Society.
He married Margaret Baron, a scientist, in 1968. They had a son and two daughters.
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