After all the reshuffle excitement of who will be a Minister in which department it quietly emerges what they actually be responsible for. Within the Department for Communities and Local Government there is an enhanced role for Brandon Lewis. He is promoted from Under Secretary of State to Minister of State.
More to the point he has been given responsibility for both Planning and Housing. These are important areas which were previously shared between two people. Nick Boles – now at the Department of Education – was responsible for Planning, Kris Hopkins for Housing. So Mr Lewis will be working hard.
I was delighted to see Penny Mordaunt made a DCLG Minister. Her ability was quote apparent from listening to her extraordinary speech proposing the Loyal Address. She has given responsibility for the fire brigade – also for enterprise zones, coastal communities and local growth.
While Mr Hopkins is still a Minister at the DCLG – he is now responsible for Local Government and pubs.
Lord Ahmed represents the DCLG on all its policies in the House of Lords. He is also responsible for the QEII Conference Centre. (Why doesn’t he sell it?)
Baroness Warsi retains the Faith and Communities brief. The Lib Dem Minister Stephen Williams continues with responsibility for localism, empty homes, building regulations and climate change.
I am delighted that Eric Pickles remains the Secretary of State. He has proved to be one of the most effective cabinet ministers. A common sense revolutionary he has transformed local government by giving power to the people. How the bureaucrats have squealed at being forced to reveal their pay and spending and having a referendum mechanism that thwarts them from big Council Tax hikes.
Some of Mr Pickles’ greatest successes – such as the Troubled Families programme and the New Homes Bonus – have had far less attention than they deserve.
There is still a lot more for him to do. He can now get on with it. I don’t think he will have any complaints about the new team he has helping him.