Junior Treasury minister promoted to top MHCLG job

25 Jul 19

Robert Jenrick has been appointed secretary of state for housing, communities and local government following the sacking of James Brokenshire.

Robert Jenrick The MP for Newark was promoted from his position as exchequer secretary to the Treasury following Boris Johnson’s cabinet clearout yesterday, in which just five of Theresa May’s full cabinet remained in post. 

CIPFA chief executive Rob Whiteman said the Cabinet appointments signalled a “change in direction from the new government” and also brought a “new level of certainy on their stated Brexit policy”.

Although, he warned:  “While businesses will welcome certainty, they have also expressed severe doubts regarding a no-deal Brexit.

“A no-deal scenario could impact on the tax yield that funds public services, which are already under substantial pressure from rising demographic demand, and so we would advise against damaging business and local economies.”

He also said departments looking to spend and borrow more should “focus on medium term risks and liabilities and not just the short term - not least tackling the UK’s sluggish productivity that holds back growth”.

County Councils Network chair David Williams warned Jenrick of the challenge ahead. 

He said: “He inherits a huge remit with a great deal of uncertainty over many key local government agendas – particularly the Spending and fair funding reviews, business rate retention and social care green paper.”

“Above all, we want to work with him and put in place the foundations for an ambitious long-term vision for local government.”

Jenrick said on Twitter he was “excited and honoured” to be appointed to the role.

 

Brokenshire – who backed Johnson early on in his leadership race – said via his Twitter account: “Has been a huge honour to serve, but looking forward to being released from collective responsibility and campaigning on issues that matter to me and my constituents”.

Meanwhile, local government minister Rishi Sunak – who also backed Johnson - received a major promotion, replacing Liz Truss as chief secretary to the Treasury.

Gavin Williamson, who was sacked as defence secretary for leaking national security information, has been brought back into cabinet as education secretary.

Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College leaders, said: “The incoming secretary of state must now address the funding crisis in our schools and colleges.

“The government has ducked the issue for far too long and its negligence in this regard has brought the education system to its knees.”

Kevin Courtney, joint general secretary of the National Education Union, warned that Williamson will need to recruit 15,000 new teachers and pointed to funding cuts and growing class sizes.

“Past Secretaries of State have failed to make any serious progress on these issues, and all the while children’s education and wellbeing are suffering,” he said.

Elsewhere at MHCLG, former work and pensions secretary Esther McVey – who quit cabinet over Theresa May’s deal - became minister of state.

Other major appointments included Sajid Javid leaving the Home Office to become chancellor, Priti Patel coming from the backbenches to home secretary and Dominic Raab announced as foreign secretary and first secretary of state.

Those who kept their posts in cabinet were Amber Rudd (work and pensions), Matt Hancock (health and social care), Stephen Barclay (exiting the EU), Baroness Evans (leader of the lords) and Alun Cairns (Wales).

The full list of cabinet roles: 

·      Chancellor – Sajid Javid

·      Home secretary – Priti Patel

·      Foreign secretary and first secretary of state – Dominic Raab

·      Brexit secretary – Stephen Barclay

·      Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster – Michael Gove

·      Defence secretary – Ben Wallace

·      International trade secretary – Liz Truss

·     Health and social care secretary – Matt Hancock

·      Environment secretary – Theresa Villiers

·      Education secretary – Gavin Williamson

·      Culture secretary – Nicky Morgan

·      Business secretary – Andrea Leadsom

·      Housing and communities secretary – Robert Jenrick

·      Work and pension secretary – Amber Rudd

·      Justice secretary – Robert Buckland

·      International development secretary – Alok Sharma

·      Transport secretary – Grant Shapps

·      Welsh secretary – Alun Cairns

·      Scottish secretary – Alister Jack

·      Northern Ireland secretary – Julian Smith

·      Leader of the Lords – Baroness Evans

·      Party chairman – James Cleverly

Also attending cabinet but not full members:

·      Leader of the Commons - Jacob Rees-Mogg

·      Chief secretary to the Treasury - Rishi Sunak

·      Chief whip - Mark Spencer

·      Attorney general - Geoffrey Cox

·      Minister for housing, communities and local government - Esther McVey

·      Minister for home - Brandon Lewis

·      Minister for business, energy and industrial strategy, and education - Jo Johnson

·      Paymaster general - Oliver Dowden

·      Minister for business, energy and industrial strategy - Kwasi Kwarteng

·      Cabinet office minister and minister for housing, communities and local government - Jake Berry

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