Statement from Greg Clark following his appointment as the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.
I am thrilled to have been appointed to lead this new department charged with delivering a comprehensive industrial strategy, leading government’s relationship with business, furthering our world-class science base, delivering affordable, clean energy and tackling climate change.
Who is Greg Clark?
He’s been MP of the safe Conservative seat of Tunbridge Wells since 2005.
Clark was appointed to the front bench in a minor reshuffle in November 2006 by David Cameron, becoming Shadow Minister for Charities, Voluntary Bodies and Social Enterprise. Shortly after his appointment he made headlines by saying the Conservative party needed to pay less attention to the social thinking of Winston Churchill, and more to that of columnist on The Guardian, Polly Toynbee.
In 2007, Clark campaigned to save Tunbridge Wells Homeopathic Hospital. In October 2008, Clark was promoted to the Shadow Cabinet, shadowing the new government position of Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change.
Minister of State for Decentralisation
Clark was appointed a Minister of State in the Department for Communities and Local Government from May 2010, with responsibility for overseeing decentralisation, a key policy of the Liberal Democrat-Conservative coalition. In this role he called for the churches and other faith communities to send him their ideas for new social innovations for all, and made a major speech on “turning government upside down” jointly to the think tanks CentreForum and Policy Exchange. He was accused of hypocrisy, having staunchly opposed house-building while in opposition, while threatening to impose it as a government minister.
However, since announcing the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) he has been praised by heritage NGOs and Simon Jenkins of the National Trust.
From July 2011, he was responsible for cities policy since July 2011 as Minister for Cities. In this role he tried to promote the urban economies of the North, West and Midlands.[third-party source needed]
In November 2015, in his capacity of Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Clark called in the decision making power in the appeal against the Lancashire County Council’s decision regarding a shale gas fracking application made by Cuadrilla Resources.
Financial Secretary to the Treasury
In a cabinet reshuffle in September 2012, Clark was appointed Financial Secretary to the Treasury, while retaining the ministerial brief responsible for cities policy.
Minister for Universities, Science and Cities
On 15 July 2014 Clark was appointed to the role of Minister for Universities, Science and Cities, replacing David Willetts who was generally praised for his service in the post. The new portfolio combined the universities and science brief held by Willetts with the cities policy already handled by Clark.
His appointment was met with concerns about securing future funding for universities and questions over his public support for homoeopathic treatments.
Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government
Clark returned to the Department of Communities and Local Government as Secretary of State on 11 May 2015, appointed in David Cameron’s first cabinet reshuffle following the 2015 general election.
UPDATE #1 Some Hansard extracts:
Orders of the Day — Climate Change and Sustainable Energy Bill — Order for Second Reading read. (11 Nov 2005)
Greg Clark: I am keen to see this and the other Bill to be presented today progress. As we have had some long speeches today, I merely want to record my support for the Bill. I hope that we can move to the Front-Bench speeches and make some progress.
Written Answers — Trade and Industry: Nuclear Power (20 Dec 2005)
Greg Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what pricing arrangements pertain to electricity produced from nuclear power stations, with particular reference to arrangements made under the non-fossil fuel obligation.
Public Bill Committee: Climate Change and Sustainable Energy Bill: Clause 1 – Purposes (25 Jan 2006)
Greg Clark: The hon. Member for Bishop Auckland (Helen Goodman) and I serve together on the Select Committee on Public Accounts. The removal of the clause would also remove the Treasury from the scrutiny of the Public Accounts Committee in terms of the execution of the policy. From time to time, that Committee finds an effective way of making sure that the Government deliver on their promises.
Orders of the Day — Climate Change and Sustainable Energy Bill: New Clause 1 — Local Authorities: duty to consider measures to alleviate climate change and fuel poverty (10 Mar 2006)
Greg Clark: Does not the Bill meet precisely the objection that the Minister raises? Clause 1(2) requires: “the relevant persons and bodies shall have regard to . . . the desirability of alleviating fuel poverty”. If my hon. Friend is right and such measures would increase the cost of fuel, that is precisely something that needs to be taken into account by the relevant persons, so that subsection deals…
Greg Clark: My information is that it cost in the order of £15,000. However, one of the features of new technology is that once it goes into mass production, prices fall very rapidly. If it is that price today, I would expect that next year it will be much less, and so on. As my hon. Friend the Member for Surrey Heath (Michael Gove) said, technology, particularly innovation in technology, can make…
Greg Clark: I warmly welcome the right hon. Gentleman’s statement, and welcome him personally—along with his ministerial colleagues—to the Front Bench. I also welcome him to the Dispatch Box, where he appears for the first time in his new post. The Secretary of State is widely regarded as one of the most personable, thoughtful and respected members of the Government. Our debates have always…Does he accept that his predecessors have been paying lip service to carbon capture and storage without decisive action? Will he commit himself to our policy of funding at least three CCS demonstration projects, so that Britain can lead the world in this vital technology? …We have been called here today for the Secretary of State to announce a new target, but does he share his predecessor’s view that the Government are unlikely to meet their 2010 target of a 20 per cent. cut in emissions, despite three successive manifesto pledges? We support his acceptance of the Committee on Climate Change‘s target of 80 per cent.—we have always said that we should be guided by the science on that—but, as he knows, eight years ago 60 per cent. was considered to be the right target. Does he agree that the committee should keep the target under constant review, and that if the advice changes, so must the target?
UPDATE #2 Jo Johnson MP, Boris’ brother is to join the dept. leading on Universities and science.
UPDATE #3 Nick Hurd joins the department as a junior minister. He set up the Small Business Network to advise the Conservative Party on business policy. More recently, he worked as Chief of Staff to Tim Yeo MP, who at the time was Shadow Secretary of State for Environment and Transport, and in the Conservative Research Department.
He was Chairman of the Climate Change sub-group of the Conservative Party’s Quality of Life policy review commission, 2006–2008. He has also served as a member of the Environmental Audit Select Committee (EAC). Hurd came top in the Private Member’s Bill ballot in November 2006, and introduced the Sustainable Communities Bill into the House of Commons. This achieved its third reading in June 2007 and after being passed by the House of Lords, the Sustainable Communities Act 2007 received Royal Assent in October 2007.
The number of excess winter deaths has risen from 24,200 in 2011/12 to 43,900 in 2014/15.
Britain has one of the worst records – among developed countries, for excess winter deaths – people dying because of lack of heating, neglect or poor health
Despite the link with cold weather, countries such as Sweden, Finland and Iceland are better at looking after their elderly.