Nadhim Zahawi, construction minister since July 2019, was last month given the job of overseeing the roll-out of Covid vaccines at the Department of Health & Social Care. Although he remains a junior minister at the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS), most of Mr Zahawi’s former responsibilities there have now been reallocated.
Kwasi Kwarteng is a minister of state, a superior rank to Mr Zahawi, who is a parliamentary under-secretary. So it is theoretically to the construction industry’s benefit to have a high ranking minister looking out for its interests. As construction minister, he also gets to co-chair the Construction Leadership Council.
Mr Kwarteng’s portfolio also includes responsibility for energy, which in previous years would have given him a seat in the Cabinet. The Department of Energy (& Climate Change by then) became part of BEIS in 2016.
Hannah Vickers, chief executive of the Association for Consultancy and Engineering (ACE), said of the new man: “I hope he continues the effective work of his predecessor who engaged constructively with all parts of the industry throughout these extremely challenging times. The next 18 months are almost as crucial, and when we meet I will stress how our industry can play a key role as a catalyst for recovery, as an enabler for levelling-up and as the designers of a Net Zero future.”