View from Westminster 12th January 2018

The bigger news of the week from Westminster has been the government reshuffle. Before I became involved in politics, I could never quite get my head around just how an individual could move into a new job, heading up a government department, and be able to run it from day one. Having spent time as a minister myself, it is done with a huge amount of help from officials, who do the day to day running. In the end, there was limited reshuffling of the Cabinet and I was pleased to see that some of the key departments not only kept their Secretaries of State, but also enlarged their remit. Local government has taken on housing, but the key change was Health taking on social care.

It has always been crazy to have social care run by the local authority whilst the NHS was run centrally. It created a funding dilemma that meant that hospitals were keen to move patients onto social care, whilst local authorities were keen to manage their budgets. From a patient’s point of view, although the system has been managed as best as possible, there was always a tricky interface between patients moving from one system to the other. Now it is all under one roof and the smooth progress of patients can be managed properly. This is something that Jeremy Hunt, the health Secretary, will manage and he can do it from a strong position of long experience.

But aside from the cabinet, there are many other ministerial positions – over 100 in total, all perform important functions but are less involved in the overall policy making process. However, their input and work is vital and it is important that those views reflect the views of a wide and diverse nation. After all, each person’s view of public service and policy is unique so it is important that the government comes from a wide range of backgrounds.

This reshuffle has brought in a group of the 2015 intake to parliament, and with them they bring a wide variety of fresh thinking to the government. I won’t pretend that I am not disappointed to have been picked as one of those ministers selected to make way for the new intake, but there is not one new minister that I do not have an enormous amount of respect for. But for me, the upside is that I can spend more time on local matters in Wyre Forest.

It has always been crazy to have social care run by the local authority whilst the NHS was run centrally. It created a funding dilemma that meant that hospitals were keen to move patients onto social care, whilst local authorities were keen to manage their budgets. From a patient’s point of view, although the system has been managed as best as possible, there was always a tricky interface between patients moving from one system to the other. Now it is all under one roof and the smooth progress of patients can be managed properly. This is something that Jeremy Hunt, the health Secretary, will manage and he can do it from a strong position of long experience.

But aside from the cabinet, there are many other ministerial positions – over 100 in total, all perform important functions but are less involved in the overall policy making process. However, their input and work is vital and it is important that those views reflect the views of a wide and diverse nation. After all, each person’s view of public service and policy is unique so it is important that the government comes from a wide range of backgrounds.

This reshuffle has brought in a group of the 2015 intake to parliament, and with them they bring a wide variety of fresh thinking to the government. I won’t pretend that I am not disappointed to have been picked as one of those ministers selected to make way for the new intake, but there is not one new minister that I do not have an enormous amount of respect for. But for me, the upside is that I can spend more time on local matters in Wyre Forest.