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Pickles out, Clark in at the DCLG

Greg Clark has replaced Eric Pickles as communities secretary in a major change of direction for the DCLG.

Clark, who previously served as universities minister and cities minister, is an advocate of decentralisation and power to cities. He is expected to be a strong ally to George Osborne in future deals like the devolution of powers and NHS spending to Greater Manchester.

Pickles, by contrast, is a widely known supporter of more centralisation and has a track record of being heavy handed with his ministerial powers. He has appointed commissioners to take over, or assess, several councils including Rotherham, Tower Hamlets and Birmingham.

He also has a reputation for intervening in local planning applications, and was recently found to by the High Court to have illegally discriminated against Romany Gypsies by using ministerial powers to personally decide planning applications about whether they should be allowed to settle on green belt land.

With an incoming secretary of state keen on more devolving power to regions and providing greater autonomy to councils, speculation may start that the time of the government-mandated cap on council tax rises may be coming to an end.

Also announced by David Cameron this afternoon, Oliver Letwin has been promoted from government policy minister to Cabinet Office minister and full member of the Cabinet, taking over from Francis Maude who stepped down as an MP.

(Image source: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire)

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Cynic   18/05/2015 at 13:42

Going to miss the Pickles gaffes!

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