The British Prime Minister, the conservative Rishi Sunak, has named Greg Hands the new president of the ‘Tory’ party on Tuesday -a mainly administrative position- and partially remodeled his government, with the creation of four new ministries. Sunak assigned the new Energy Security and Zero Emissions portfolio to Grant Shapps -until now head of the Company-; that of Science, Innovation and Technology to Michelle Donelan -ex of Culture- and to Kemi Badenoch the responsibility of Business and Commerce. Meanwhile, the minister without portfolio Lucy Frazer will be the new head of Culture, Media and Sports, said Downing Street, the prime minister’s office, in a statement collected by Efe. These changes come just a week after one of the massive strikes that took place in the country.
Hands, until now Secretary of State for Commerce, will thus replace Nadhim Zahawi, recently expelled from his position for having breached the ministerial code as a result of a scandal over fiscal irregularities during his time as head of Finance. With this remodeling, the Government aims to give a boost to the national economy and tackle the energy crisis.
In a statement, the Executive explained that the new Department of Energy Security and Net Zero will result in “securing long-term energy supply for the United Kingdom” as well as “lowering bills and inflation.” The also recently created portfolio of Science, Innovation and Technology “will promote innovation that will bring better public services, create new, better-paid jobs and make the economy grow,” the note details.
It is also stressed that the Ministry of Business and Trade “will support growth by supporting British businesses at home and abroad, promoting investment and abandoning free trade.” The Government points out in its statement that the reformed Ministry of Culture, Media and Sport “will recognize the importance of these industries for the economy and will develop the position of the United Kingdom as a world leader in the creative arts.” Following the announcement, the newly appointed minister for the Department for Energy Security and Zero Emissions, Grant Shapps, said his focus would be “securing energy supplies over the long term, lowering bills and thereby helping to bring down inflation.”
After a day of massive strike
In one of the most massive strike days in more than a decade in the United Kingdom, thousands of teachers, civil servants, railway employees and other workers took to the streets on February 1 in numerous cities across the country to demand better wages in the face of the cost of living crisis. Nearly half a million people supported a strike that affected more than 23,000 schools, has paralyzed a large part of the train lines and has led around 100,000 public officials to stop their activity.
“The salary of teachers, along with a large part of the public sector and of all sectors, has suffered a cut in real terms since 2010. 20% for teachers,” Martin Rush, a teacher who was protesting, told Efe at the time. in the center of London. The protest focused on the “fight against this conservative government and its austerity policies since 2010.”
Given the strikes and the problems they have generated in transport, which have also affected London bus lines, the influx of people to the center of the British capital was 16.5% less than on Wednesday last week, according to Springboard consultancy, specializing in consumer behavior analysis.
Since last summer, stoppages and protests in multiple sectors have taken the British back to the labor conflicts of the 1970s and 1980s, in a country that since 1926 has not experienced a general strike. In the demonstrations in London and other cities, the protest against the government’s plans to approve a law that allows it to set minimum services in the event of strikes in critical sectors such as health was added to the demand for salary increases.