This week’s cabinet reshuffle has thrown up two changes that will affect construction.

Alan Milburn, chief secretary to the Treasury, has replaced Frank Dobson as health secretary. At the Treasury, Milburn, 41, was responsible for the private finance initiative and introduced the proposal to create Partnerships UK, the state-owned bank for PFI projects. Milburn was also a health minister for a time. His experience at the Treasury should prove useful in his new role.

Andrew Smith will replace Milburn as chief secretary to the Treasury. In opposition, Smith, 48, the shadow transport minister and then shadow chief secretary, was tipped for a cabinet post but his progress has not been as rapid as expected, possibly because he said in 1996 that Labour would never privatise air-traffic control. However, he was praised by Blair at the Labour Party conference for his handling of the government’s “New Deal” employment initiative.

He has been a minister at the Department for Education and Employment looking after the New Deal since the election.