Matt Hancock was born in Chester in 1978. He went to Farndon County Primary School, West Cheshire College, and King’s School Chester, where he achieved five As at A level. Aged 17 he was accepted to study Politics, Philosophy and Economics at Exeter College, Oxford University, a year early. At Oxford he organised the College Ball and rowed at Henley, and graduated in 1999 with First Class honours.
After working in his family’s data analytics company, and as a researcher for a backbench MP, Matt joined the Bank of England in 2000 as one of the youngest recruits to its graduate programme in its history. He worked on the Sterling Markets desk, as Private Secretary to the Executive Director for Markets, and as an economist analysing the housing market. While at the Bank Matt completed a Masters degree in Economics at Cambridge University.
In 2005 Matt was recruited by George Osborne, then Shadow Chancellor, to advise on the incoming Conservative government’s economic policy. Matt designed the Office for Budget Responsibility and, following the 2008 crash, and the reforms to the UK financial architecture including the institution of the FPC and FCA.
In 2010 Matt was elected as Member of Parliament for West Suffolk. While on the backbenches he served on the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee and Standards and Privileges Committee. While a backbencher he introduced a Bill to regulate offshore gambling and strengthen support for horse racing which became law in 2014.
In 2012 Matt was appointed Minister for Skills by David Cameron, and led the expansion of Apprenticeships and introduction of Degree Apprenticeships and Traineeships, to provide vocational in-work training opportunities from entry through to graduate level. He was promoted to Minister for Skills and Enterprise and was appointed to Her Majesty’s Privy Council.
In 2014 Matt was promoted to Minister for Business and Energy, and attended Cabinet. He piloted the 2015 Energy Bill through Parliament, which made provision for the UK energy market, and oversaw the expansion of offshore wind and solar power generation.
Following the 2015 General Election, in which Matt increased his majority in West Suffolk, Matt was made Paymaster General by Prime Minister David Cameron, in which role he was responsible for the operation of the Civil Service, was responsible for the Government Digital Service and the digital transformation of Government, and founded the National Cyber Security Centre. Matt led the Statistics Act 2016, which put in place a modern foundation for the gathering of statistics using modern data techniques, and was responsible for reforms to recruitment and retention of civil servants to make the civil service higher calibre and more flexible, and oversaw the smallest Civil Service since the Second World War.
Matt campaigned to remain in the EU at the 2016 referendum and advised David Cameron not to quit after the result became clear. After the referendum he was appointed Minister for Digital and Culture, in which role he put together the UK’s digital strategy, and took the landmark Data Protection Act 2016 into law.
In 2018 Matt was promoted by Prime Minister Theresa May to Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. In his six months in that role Matt ended the Leveson reforms that threatened a free press, responded to the Cambridge Analytics data protection scandal, and introduced landmark reforms to the telecoms market, to begin the rollout of full fibre broadband and ensure the provision of mobile coverage across the whole of the UK.
Later in 2018, following the resignation of Boris Johnson from Government, Matt was appointed Secretary of State for Health and Social Care by Theresa May. In his first 18 months in that role he published the NHS Long Term Plan, developed the modern data architecture of the NHS, launched the NHS app, founded NHSX, committed the UK Government to building 40 new hospitals by 2030, and set the goal for recruiting 50,000 more nurses by 2024, which has been achieved a year early. From 2020 onwards Matt was at the forefront of the UK’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic. He led the delivery of a vaccine - which the UK delivered first in the world - led the expansion of diagnostic capabilities and the expansion of the NHS. He was instrumental in the decision to lock down the country to save lives. During this time Matt led the UK’s response to the pandemic in Parliament, funded the development of the Oxford / AstraZeneca vaccine, Chaired the UK Government Vaccine Delivery Board, founded the UK Health Security Agency to prepare for future pandemics, and Chaired the meetings of G7 Health Ministers, including the first in-person G7 meeting since the Pandemic in Oxford in May 2021. In June 2021 Matt resigned from Government and returned to the backbenches, where he campaigns on more support for people with dyslexia.
In 2022 Matt introduced a Bill to Parliament to require the universal screening of all primary school children for neurodiversity. Matt is dyslexic, yet his dyslexia was only diagnosed at age 18 at Oxford University. In 2023 the UK Government adopted the policy of universal early identification, and Matt has founded the accessible Learning Foundation to drive policy and support for early identification of and support for neurodiversity in schools, business and prison.
Throughout his time in Government Matt has continued to strongly support causes important to his West Suffolk constituency. He continues his support for horse racing. In 2012 he was the first sitting MP to win a horse race since the First World War. He was trained by Frankie Dettori and John Gosden and rode the winner at Newmarket on Dick Doughtywylie. He supports the USAF presence at Mildenhall and Lakenheath, and as Health Secretary announced a new general hospital in West Suffolk and Children’s Hospital in Cambridge.
Matt is an adventurer. He regularly takes part in treks for pleasure and marathon-running to raise money for charity. Matt is a keen cricketer, and in 2005 he played the most northerly game of cricket on record, as recorded in Wisden, and succumbed to frostbite en route to the Pole. He retains all his fingers.