Prime Minister Boris Johnson has completed his Cabinet reshuffle. For payroll professionals, it is important to note that, just 4 weeks ahead of the 11 March 2020 Budget, Sajid Javid resigned as Chancellor of the Exchequer, replaced by Rishi Sunak.
A change of jobholder for the second most important job in Government, this is a major departure considering that Mr Javid was supposed to have one of the most secure jobs in the Cabinet.
On the Chancellor’s plate at the moment is not only the Budget but also the Spending Review. Plus, the role is pivotal in negotiations with the EU regarding the ongoing access of UK finance.
Who is Rishi Sunak?
It is important to have some basic details about a man who is going to be pivotal in the next few weeks. His own Website might be a place to visit, although:
- Mr Sunak has been the MP for Richmond in Yorkshire since 2015
- He campaigned for ‘Leave’ in the 2016 referendum and supported each of former Prime Minister Theresa May’s attempts at a Withdrawal Bill
- He was previously Chief Secretary to the Treasury (since 24 July 2019) and, as such, was the only non-Cabinet minister that was allowed to attend Cabinet meetings
- Prior to that, Mr Sunak was parliamentary under-secretary for housing, communities and local government (in the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government)
- Prior to the world of politics, Mr Sunak was a businessman with a financial leaning
Whilst Downing Street remain silent on this at the time of writing, all they will say is that ‘preparations have been carried out and will continue at pace’. Let’s hope not. In his role as Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Mr Sunak will have been heavily involved, though you suspect that there will be some re-writes.
However, for the sake of completeness, here is a list of the departing main Ministers and their replacements:
|Chancellor of the Exchequer||Sajid Javid||Rishi Sunak||Resigned|
|Chief Secretary to the Treasury||Rishi Sunak||Stephen Barclay||Promoted|
|Secretary of State for Northern Ireland||Julian Smith||Brandon Lewis||Sacked|
|Lord President of the Privy Council, Leader of the House of Commons||Andrea Leadsom||Alok Sharma||Sacked|
|Secretary of State for International Development||Alok Sharma||Anne-Marie Trevelyan||Promoted|
|Attorney General||Geoffrey Cox||Suella Braverman||Sacked|
|Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs||Theresa Villiers||George Eustice||Sacked|
|Secretary of State for Digital Culture, Media and Sport||Nicky Morgan||Oliver Dowden CBE||Stood down|
There were also sackings for the following ministers:
- Esther McVey – housing minister
- Chris Skidmore – universities minister
- Nusrat Ghani – transport minister
- George Freeman – transport minister
- Andrew Murrison – Middle East and North Africa minister
Former Northern Ireland Secretary James Brokenshire returns to government to take the role at the Home Office left by Brandon Lewis.
The full list of who is in and who is out is on Gov.UK.
It is also worthwhile noting that the special advisers (‘spads’) from No 10 and No 11 Downing Street have merged to jointly advise both the Prime Minister and the Chancellor. These are all ultimately accountable to the Prime Minister, something that the previous Chancellor was not happy about at all. His resignation letter contained the pointed comment ‘it is important as leaders to have trusted teams that reflect the character and integrity that you would wish to be associated with’.