BUSINESS innovation

One liberty afforded David Cameron by his new majority is an enhanced ability to mould his Cabinet to his own priorities, without having to cede territory to another’s judgement.

As a result, one of the patterns to emerge from yesterday’s appointments appears to be a renewed emphasis on British business.

The Financial Times reports that Sajid Javid, the Thatcherite new Business Secretary, has been appointed “with instructions to cut red tape, create 3m apprenticeships and boost exports.”

The last is a particular cause for the Prime Minister, who has attempted to reshape Government foreign policy around promoting British trade. He has personally spearheaded trade missions to important international markets, such as India and China, even when this has proved controversial at home.

The last Government also tried to establish British embassies as trading missions, helping British exporters to find their feet in new markets.

Cameron has doubled down on this strategy by appointing Francis Maude, who in the Cabinet Office specialised in cajoling recalcitrant Whitehall machinery into following the Government’s agenda, as a Trade Minister at BIS and the Foreign Office.

Exporting to the wider world and tomorrow’s major economies also has shorter-term political implications. Tories are aware that sales to the declining European market currently comprise far too high a share of national exports, which is not only bad for the economy but weakens London’s negotiating position as the Government tries to negotiate EU reform.

A healthy, better-balanced economy would also greatly improved the party’s prospects at the next general election in 2020 (or 2019, if we scrap Fixed-Term Parliaments).

A final indication that this Government has made business a key priority is Anna Soubry’s promotion. As Minister of State for Small Business, she will now have the right to attend Cabinet.


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