PUBLISHED: 10:47 12 June 2017 | UPDATED: 12:36 12 June 2017
Greg Clark MP, who was reappointed as Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy in the new cabinet. Picture: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire
Mr Clark was first appointed by Mrs May last summer, swapping roles with Sajid Javid, who took over the portfolio for communities and local government.
The 49-year-old will have responsibility for managing direction and policy across the business department, and will be charged with delivering the government’s much-heralded industrial strategy.
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Having grown up in Middlesborough, Mr Clark went on to study at Cambridge and the London School of Economics, where he gained a PhD for a thesis on incentive payments. He has also held the post of universities secretary and financial secretary to the treasury.
Despite having a low-key role in the election campaign, Mr Clark will have an important part to play in mediating between the government and business groups emboldened by the election result to push for a softer Brexit outcome.
On a morning of downbeat economic news, the Institute of Directors has voiced concerns that the political uncertainty gripping the country could damage the economy, and reported its members have experienced a “dramatic drop” in confidence since the hung parliament result.
The 700 members of the IoD who took part in the survey said they were keen to see quick agreement with the European Union on transitional arrangements surrounding the UK’s withdrawal, and clarity on the status of EU workers in the UK.
Stephen Martin, director general of the IoD, said: “With global headwinds and political uncertainty at the front of business leaders’ minds, it would be wise for this administration to re-emphasise its commitment to a pro-business environment here at home.”
Meanwhile, annual consumer spending fell for the first time since 2013, in a sign that more households are tightening the purse-strings amid rising prices and stagnating wages.
Spending fell by 0.8% year-on-year in May, following a 0.3% increase in April, Visa’s UK Consumer Spending Index found. It was the first annual fall since September 2013.
As well as handling those concerns, the MP for Tunbridge Wells will also have to oversee the government’s industrial strategy, measures to improve the UK’s productivity – a particular issue in Norfolk and Suffolk – and addressing the skills shortages that the region faces.