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The new Cabinet: What are the tea leaves saying?

Todd Holden, director for Low Carbon at the Business Growth Hub, gives his take on the Government’s new Cabinet appointments and what it might mean for the green economy.

Todd Holden, director for Low Carbon at the Business Growth Hub, gives his take on the Government’s new cabinet appointments and what it might mean for the green economy.

The election result has created a few ripples in a number of those Government Departments which impact on the day to day activities of our bumpy transition to a low carbon economy; so what might the tea leaves be saying?

The Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG) says goodbye to Eric Pickles, who was widely criticised for his interventions on renewable energy and building energy efficiency. He has been replaced by Greg Clark, who has more experience in this area. 

The Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) sees Amber Rudd promoted to the helm. With her strong private sector pedigree and previous experience at DECC, there’s hope she will embrace the need for investment grade policy. 

Only time will tell if her previous role as Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Treasury will be a good thing for the low carbon agenda or not. At least for now it looks like DECC will survive.

Liz Truss will continue her role as Environment Secretary – not an easy job. With a number of new manifesto commitments, a Supreme Court ruling on the UK’s poor air quality and the EU referendum (think farming) on her radar, this isn’t going to be the easiest role.  

The reshuffle also sees Oliver Letwin – a key policy strategist and someone who gets the importance of the green agenda – now heading up the Cabinet Office.

As I’ve said on many an occasion, actions speak louder than words. Only time will tell how these appointees shape up under the pressure of Government, but we shouldn’t forget: it’s the Prime Minster who has put them there, and there will be many on his backbench who will wish he hadn’t.