Challenging brief for cabinet new boy Kwasi Kwarteng: Johnson has signalled that intervention will continue apace. The 2050 net zero emissions target will require a huge remaking of the energy system, with more wind, solar, nuclear and hydrogen power, and an electric-charging infrastructure — all requiring huge dollops of taxpayers’ cash. The state will need to step in to help industries such as car-making and aerospace switch to lower-emission technology. Vast swathes of the workforce will need to be retrained. That will require bold decisions and vision from Kwarteng. “He’s quite a ditherer and prevaricator when it comes to decision-making,” said a Tory source. “It could go in two completely different directions. He’s obviously intellectually bright. If he lives up to what he’s been saying, which is that he wants to be the ‘voice of business’, it could be brilliant.” At least Kwarteng appears to be starting with good intentions. Last week he pressed the flesh, virtually, with the bosses of some of Britain’s biggest businesses, such as Rolls-Royce, Shell, Jaguar Land Rover and Astra Zeneca. Perhaps significantly, he also spoke to Frances O’Grady of the Trades Union Congress. Staff at the business department were also told that a new offshoot focused on low-carbon buildings and industry would be established in Manchester. It is finally time to deliver on that precocious promise he showed all those years ago.
Times 16th Jan 2021 read more »