Despite commentators believing the prime minister would carry out a widespread cabinet reshuffle following her failure to secure a parliament majority in the 8 June general election, May only made a few changes.
Alongside the return of Michael Gove, the former justice secretary and chief whip who will now serve as secretary of state for environment, food and rural affairs, Damien Green has also moved over from his work and pensions role to become the secretary of state.
The Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), formerly the Department for Business, Skills and Innovation (BIS), will continue to be headed up by Greg Clark.
The MP for Tunbridge Wells took to Twitter and said: “A privilege to serve as Secretary of State for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy at an important time for the United Kingdom.”
Also keeping their positions at BEIS were minister of state for climate change Nick Hurd, minister of state for universities, science, research and innovation Jo Johnson and minster for small business Margot James.
The 2015 spending review gave the then BIS and Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) “unprotected” status – meaning each was expected to identify “resource budget savings to support fiscal consolidation”. At that point, the Treasury calculated settlements would represent cumulative real-terms reductions of 16 per cent for DECC and 17 per cent for BIS by 2019-20.
BIS, now BEIS, savings were expected from changes to delivery mechanisms, such as grants to loans and other finance products, and delivering energy-intensive industry exemptions. The capital budget for the department was reduced from a 2015-16 baseline of £3.8bn to £1.6bn in 2020-21.
Alongside May’s cabinet reshuffle moves, Bank of England governor Mark Carney decided to re-appoint chief economist Andrew Haldane, also a member of the Monetary Policy Committee, for a further three-year term.
Brendan Flattery, CEO of Utilitywise, said of the cabinet reshuffle: “If the government wants to help small businesses from day one of the new administration, there are three immediate things that it could do to put money back into the pockets of small business owners
“Make switching easier for businesses, raise awareness of the benefits of switching amongst the businesses community and, finally, introduce policies that encourage businesses to invest in long-term, sustainable energy efficiency measures which stand to produce national savings of £2bn. We hope that these are policies which all parties can support to provide immediate help to small businesses.”
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