Building profiles six new and old ministers that will impact on the construction sector
Prime minister David Cameron has all-but-completed his cabinet, with several key appointments that will impact on the construction industry.
There are new faces running the communities, energy and business departments - Greg Clark, Amber Rudd and Sajid Javid. The government has also appointed its first small business minister, Anna Soubry, and the man who will wield the axe across government spending as chief secretary at the Treasury, Greg Hands. Patrick McLoughlin is reinstated as transport secretary.
Building profiles the key players:
Construction’s key ministers
In what may be seen as coming full circle, Clark has been made secretary of state for communities and local government. When the coalition government was first elected in 2010, he was a minister in the department, with responsibility for decentralisation and planning policy. During this period he was accused of hypocrisy as, having been a champion for localism and opposed to housebuilding while in opposition, he then led the publication of the pro-development National Planning Policy Framework in the teeth of ferocious opposition in much of the press. He accused those who were attempting to “preserve in aspic” their towns of “nihilistic selfishness” in a newspaper interview in the summer of 2011. Before entering the political arena Clark, who studied economics at Cambridge and earned a phd from London School Economics, worked as head of commercial policy at the BBC and Boston Consulting Group. He was director of policy for the Conservatives from 2001, and was elected MP for Royal Tunbridge Wells in 2005. Clark is an advocate for the devolving power to cities.
Patrick McLoughlin will continue as transport secretary, a role he held for the last three years of the coalition. He was also chief whip between 2010 and 2012, a role he held in opposition for the preceding five years, and worked as a miner prior to becoming an MP in 1986. McLoughlin was responsible for HS2 under the coalition, and will continue to press ahead with plans for the high-speed rail line in the new government. He will also be responsible for developing a plan for HS3, another proposed high-speed rail link outlined in the Conservatives’ manifesto connecting Liverpool to Hull via Manchester and Leeds, as well as implementing the outcome of the Davies Commission on airport capacity.
Amber Rudd steps up to secretary of state for energy and climate change from her role as climate change minister in the coalition. Previously a financial journalist and City head-hunter, Rudd also served as parliamentary private secretary to chancellor George Osborne, and assistant government whip. Rudd was responsible for a range of initiatives under the coalition’s household energy policy, including the smart-meter roll-out and plans to insulate a million more homes by 2020, and plans to continue these measures in her role in the cabinet. She has repeatedly asserted her commitment to tackle climate change, cut carbon emissions and boost green jobs and growth.
Following a successful career in banking – including being made a vice president at Chase Manhattan Bank at the age of 25, making him the youngest in that role in the bank’s history – Javid was elected MP for Bromsgorve in 2010. Previously secretary of state for culture, media and sport from April 2014, Javid has been appointed to replace Vince Cable as business secretary after Cable lost his seat. He has also been given the title of president of the board of trade. In March 2014, while financial secretary to the Treasury, Javid caused some controversy after claiming former Labour leader, Ed Miliband, was partly to blame for the Ukraine crisis on Twitter. He tweeted: “Direct link between Miliband’s cynical vote against #Syria motion & Russia’s actions on #Ukraine. Completely unfit to lead Britain.”
MP for Broxtowe since 2010, Soubry has been appointed minister for small business. Soubry welcomed plans in her constituency for a HS2 East Midlands hub at Toton Sidings. She commented that this was a “great opportunity for Toton, Stapleford and the whole of Broxtowe to create jobs, provide a new fast train service to London and Leeds and to improve our transport infrastructure”. However, the planned line will cause some disruption to residents and she is also supporting plans to tunnel the line at Strelley Village. Before entering Parliament, Soubry previously contested the seat of Gedling in Nottingham where she caused controversy with her remarks about being ashamed to live in the area due to its reputation for crime. Previously Soubry worked as a journalist between 1981 and 1995, which included stints on ITV’s This Morning. She was called to the bar in 1995 and practised as a criminal barrister till 2010.
Greg Hands steps up to the cabinet as chief secretary to the Treasury, from his previous role as deputy chief whip. Hands has served as MP for Chelsea and Fulham since 2005, the safest urban Conservative seat in the country, and shadowed the Treasury in opposition. Hands has been a vocal supporter of Crossrail 2, and spoken of the need for additional transport capacity in London. He opposed plans by Thames Water for a new £280m ‘super sewer’ in his constituency, designed to prevent sewer flooding to basement properties.