The Ministry of Housing, Communities, and Local Government (MHCLG) will become the department for Levelling Up, Housing, and Communities, the government has today revelaed.
The change comes as the government pushes its mission to level up every part of the UK and appoints former Bank of England Chief Economist Andy Haldane as the new head of the Levelling Up Taskforce.
The taskforce has been jointly established by the prime minister and the now secretary of state for Levelling Up, Housing, and Communities, Michael Gove – who had inherited his predecessor’s title of secretary of state for Housing, Communities, and Local Government.
Robert Jenrick lost his place in Johnson’s cabinet last week following a dramatic reshuffle.
The government says Gove will drive cross-Whitehall efforts to deliver a programme of “tangible” improvements in every part of the UK, as the country tries to “build back better” from the pandemic.
Gove will bear responsibility for United Kingdom governance and elections, and will therefore also take on the additional title of minister for Intergovernmental Relations, working closely with the Territorial Offices and leading coordination with the devolved administrations on the prime minister’s behalf.
He will be supported in the department by the new minister of state, Kemi Badenoch; and Neil O’Brien, who has been appointed parliamentary under secretary of state.
Reappointed to the department are ministers of state Christopher Pincher and Lord Greenhalgh, as well as the parliamentary under secretary of state, Eddie Hughes.
The secretary of state for Levelling Up, Michael Gove, said: “I’m thrilled that the PM has asked me to lead the Levelling Up agenda, the defining mission of this government.
“With a superb team of ministers and officials in a new department, our relentless focus will be on delivering for those overlooked families and undervalued communities across the United Kingdom.
“We have a unique opportunity to make a real difference to people’s lives.”
Head of Levelling up Taskforce
Andy Haldane will join the newly rebranded department for Levelling Up as a permanent secretary in the cabinet office on secondment from the Royal Society of Arts, Manufactures, and Commerce (RSA) for six months.
He will head up the Levelling Up Taskforce, which will report jointly to the prime minister and the secretary of state for Levelling Up, Housing, and Communities.
Commenting on the taskforce, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “This government is committed to uniting and levelling up every part of the UK, and I am determined that as we build back better from the pandemic we are geared up with the teams and expertise to deliver on that promise.
“Andy is uniquely qualified to lead our efforts to raise living standards, spread opportunity, improve our public services and restore people’s sense of pride in their communities.
“I look forward to working with him, and with my new ministerial team, to deliver the opportunities this country needs.”
Commenting on Haldane’s appointment, the Cabinet Secretary, Simon Case, said: “I would like to congratulate Andy on his appointment.
“Andy brings with him a wealth of experience and insight from his distinguished career at the Bank of England and in academia.
“I am very grateful that he has agreed to join us to lead this ambitious programme of work and look forward to working with him over the next six months.”
Haldane said: “Levelling up the UK is one of the signature challenges of our time. It has also been a personal passion throughout my professional career.
“So, I am delighted and honoured to be making a contribution to this crucial objective by heading the new Levelling Up Taskforce.
“I look forward to working with colleagues across government, local and national, and with the private and voluntary sectors, to design and deliver an economy that works for every part of the UK.”
Image: Drop of Light/Shutterstock
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