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New PM announces communities secretary in cabinet reshuffle

Words: Laura Edgar
Business secretary Sajid Javid

The UK’s new Prime Minister Theresa May has appointed new communities, transport and energy secretaries in a cabinet reshuffle.

Speaking outside 10 Downing Street on 13 July, after being appointed as Prime Minister by the Queen following David Cameron’s resignation, May promised to give people who were “just managing” more control over their lives.

Following her speech, May began appointing her cabinet, with former Mayor of London Boris Johnson being given the position of foreign secretary.

Today (14 July), she has appointed former business secretary Sajid Javid as the secretary of state for Communities and Local Government, replacing Greg Clark.

Clark has been appointed as the secretary of state for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with May changing the responsibilities of some departments. He said: “I am thrilled to have been appointed to lead this new department charged with delivering a comprehensive industrial strategy, leading government’s relationship with business, furthering our world-class science base, delivering affordable, clean energy and tackling climate change.”

Chris Grayling is the new transport secretary, replacing Patrick McLoughlin, who has been appointed chairman of the Conservative Party.

Andrea Leadsom, May’s opponent in the Conservative party leadership campaign, has been appointed environment secretary, with Elizabeth Truss moving to justice secretary.

Amber Rudd has moved from energy secretary to homes secretary in the reshuffle.

This page will be kept up-to-date as more changes are announced.

RTPI call on Javid to provide certainty


Phil Williams, RTPI president said the institute is looking forward to working with Javid to deliver on his commitment to build more homes.

“We call on him to help provide the certainty the industry needs to continue to invest in housing and associated infrastructure. Given his financial background we look forward to sharing with him the ways in which planning can deliver housing, enable growth and create the jobs we need right across the country. We believe planning can play a central role in helping to deliver sustainable solutions.”

The RTPI will be writing to the new Secretary of State to welcome him and outline how the planning profession can offer solutions towards the new government’s agendas on housing, low productivity, cities, devolution and infrastructure.

Climate change should be priority


The appointment of Clark as the business, energy and industrial strategy secretary see the amalgamation of two government departments - the departments of business, innovation and skills and energy and climate change.

Craig Bennett, CEO of Friends of the Earth, said the removal of a department dedicated to climate change is “shocking”.

“Less than a day into the job and it appears that the new Prime Minister has already downgraded action to tackle climate change, one of the biggest threats we face.

“If Theresa May supports strong action on climate change, as she’s previously said, it’s essential that this is made a top priority for the new business and energy department and across government.”

May should improve existing buildings’ efficiency


The Federation of Master Builders (FMB) said the decision to scrap the department for Energy and Climate Change is “alarming” as it signals that improving the energy efficiency of our existing buildings has been pushed ever-further down the list of government priorities.

Brian Berry, chief executive, FMB, said the lack of a “cabinet-level minister championing climate change issues at the highest level of government, which is bound to result in less emphasis and less action”.

He said the appointment of Leadsom has environment secretary provides “little solace when you consider that she has regularly voted against measures to tackle climate change in the past”.

This matters because for May’s newly-formed government to side-line its green policies, would be to sacrifice their numerous economic benefits,” Berry said.

He went on to say that May should make improving existing buildings an infrastructure investment priority as the “knock-on benefits for jobs and growth are enormous”.

“A programme to make British buildings more energy efficient would generate £8.7 billion of net benefits. This is comparable to the benefits delivered by the first phase of HS2, Crossrail, smart meter roll out, or investment in new roads. And unlike these large infrastructure projects, work to improve our existing buildings is not at the mercy of the lengthy and protracted planning process – work could start tomorrow.”

Image credit | The Conservative Party