Lansons Conversations

Cameron appoints the middle managment

After the speedy announcement of his cabinet David Cameron moved to appoint the middle management of his Government with a host of ministerial appointments. Around 30 appointments were made all in all, amongst which then most notable include;
  • A big promotion for Justine Greening who becomes Economic Secretary to the Treasury. This will be one of the key posts for the City with Greening assuming responsibility city competitiveness, wholesale and retail markets financial inclusion and tripartite regulation. Highly competent and emollient she will be severely tested as she attempts to reassure the city following the increase in CGT. Greening will already be familiar with many of the issues having served as shadow Treasury Minister.
  • Mark Hoban becomes financial secretary with responsibilities amongst other things for strategic oversight of the UK tax system and EU issues. His first and most pressing task will be guiding the Finance Bill through parliament following the emergency budget. A familiar and well respected figure in the city with a background in senior management at PwC  Hoban has been in the shadow Treasury team since 2005.
  • David Gauke becomes exchequer secretary, a position he has shadowed since 2007. A key role for Gauke will be to ensure the economic policy making makes a meaningful contribution towards the competitiveness of UK plc. With the deficit reduction and inevitable withdrawal of quantitative easing, buoyant economic growth, powered by a competitive business base, will be essential once the monetary and fiscal simuli are removed.
  • Steve Webb – On the left of the Lib Dems, Webb will be the only professor in the Government having been a professor of social policy and an expert on tax and benefits. A big intellect with a highly impressive command of pensions issues Webb will be responsible for the introduction of NESTs and dealing with the means testing issues. If Iain Duncan Smith is the strategic thinker in this team linking pensions to the broad notions of responsibility in Cameron’s philosophy, Webb’s command of the minutiae will be vital to bringing the disparate stakeholders involved with this complex policy challenge on board. The stability of the pensions team will be crucial, an all too common complaint is the short time pensions ministers serve before being moved. There are few public policy issues as complex as in pensions and continuity of this team will crucial.
There is some strong political messaging in these appointments too the Tory dominance in the home office team is no mistake as Cameron needs to be seen to insulate the key law and order and immigration issues from any perceived Lib Dem softness. As far as the Daily Mail readership will ever be happy with the Lib-Con coalition it will be reassured by the line up in this department. There are some big Lib Dem wins in these announcements. Sarah Teather who just weeks ago was fighting for seat becomes an education minister driving through the most ambitious policy reform in the manifesto. One of the real rising stars of his party Jeremy Browne becomes a minister for the Foreign Office. A strong performance in this great office of state could propel him to real party leadership material.  There will also be some disappointed Tory ministers too – Theresa Villiers becomes a minister in the department she once shadowed and Chris Grayling has paid a heavy price for his indiscretions during the campaign. Once seen a real safe pair of hands he has much rebuilding to do to his political reputation. Please click here for the full briefing