Sajid Javid replaces Philip Hammond as Chancellor

Boris Johnson has named Sajid Javid as Chancellor of the Exchequer in one of his first top ministerial appointments as prime minister, with Rishi Sunak as number two at the Treasury    

Javid replaces Philip Hammond who resigned on 24 July and went to the back benches in a move that he had signalled over the weekend, saying that he was unable to serve in Johnson’s cabinet due to concerns about a possible no deal Brexit.

The Chancellor will be under pressure to ensure a smooth Brexit delivery, while delivering some of Johnson’s more radical tax and spending proposals. The next Budget is slated for autumn 2019, shortly after Brexit day.

The number two job at the Treasury has also changed as Liz Truss is named secretary of state for international trade, leaving her role at the Treasury where she was chief secretary. She has been replaced by Rishi Sunak MP. Jesse Norman remains financial secretary, having joined the Treasury in May 2019 when Mel Stride was moved to  leader of the House of Commons, a role he has now lost in the massive Johnson reshuffle.

Before moving into senior cabinet roles under previous PM Theresa May, Javid was a Treasury minister from 2012-14 working under Hammond and has a strong financial background, having worked in the City in senior banking positions.

Most recently he was home secretary for just over a year from 30 April 2018 to 24 July 2019, and was briefly secretary of state for housing, communities and local government from January to April 2018. He was previously secretary of state for communities and local government from July 2016 to January 2018. Javid entered parliament in 2010 as Conservative MP for Bromsgrove after running Deutsche Bank’s trading operations in Asia.

Speaking about his appointment, Javid said: ‘It is a huge privilege – the prime minister has already set out some of his key priorities including leaving the European Union on October 31. There is lots of work to do so let me meet the team and get on with it.’  

His number two at the Treasury is Sunak who has been a junior minister since January this year as under secretary of state at the Department of Housing, Communities and Local Government. He was elected Conservative MP for Richmond, Yorkshire in May 2015, a seat previously held by former Tory leader William Hague.

Before he went into politics, Sunak worked in business and finance, primarily at a number of hedge funds, including the Childrens Investment Fund Management, before leaving to co-found another fund, Theleme. He went to Oxford and has an MBA from Stanford, and is the son-in-law of Indian industrialist Narayana Murthy, the co-founder of global tech and consulting giant Infosys.

On his constituency website, Sunak sets out his credentials as an entrepreneur, saying that ‘I have been fortunate to enjoy a successful business career. I co-founded a large investment firm, working with companies from Silicon Valley to Bangalore. Then I used that experience to help small and entrepreneurial British companies grow successfully. From working in my mum’s tiny chemist shop to my experience building large businesses, I have seen first-hand how politicians should support free enterprise and innovation to ensure our future prosperity’.

During the Conservative leadership campaign, Johnson set out ambitious tax plans, with suggestions that he would increase public spending, reforming stamp duty land tax to move liability from buyers to sellers and increasing the higher rate tax threshold to £80,000 from the current £50,000. However, this measure, if introduced, would be offset by rises in national insurance contributions (NICs).

In his first speech as prime minister, Johnson said: ‘Whatever deal we do we will prepare this autumn for an economic package to boost British business and to lengthen this country’s lead as the number one destination in this continent for overseas investment.’

He also stressed the importance of ‘giving business the confidence to invest across the UK because it is time we unleashed the productive power not just of London and the South East, but of every corner of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.’

He added: ‘Do not underestimate our powers of organisation and our determination because we know the enormous strengths of this economy in life sciences, in tech, in academia, in music, the arts, culture, financial services...’

Pritti Patel is named as home secretary replacing Javid, while Dominic Raab, a former Brexit secretary, replaces Jeremy Hunt as foreign secretary. Stephen Barclay remains Brexit secretary while Greg Clark is replaced as business secretary by Andrea Leadsom. 

Nicky Morgan, chair of the Treasury committee, is named as culture secretary.

This was the biggest reshuffle for decades and underlines Johnson's plans to take a grip of the Brexit crisis, saying that 'the buck stops here'.

Sara White | 24-07-19

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