(Bloomberg) -- U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson will announce changes to his cabinet on Wednesday as he seeks to rebuild the economy in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
While the premier on Tuesday set out plans to manage the ongoing Covid pandemic over the fall and winter, he’s now seeking to redouble efforts to deliver on election promises including his plan to “level up” parts of the country that have fallen behind, an official familiar with the matter said.
The changes to Johnson’s top team comes ahead of a potentially tricky few months as the prime minister continues to grapple with high levels of Covid-19 cases while seeking to return the country to normality and rebuild the economy in the wake of its worst recession in three centuries. It will also enable the governing Conservative Party to present a fresh face at its annual conference early next month.
While Johnson has about an 80-strong majority in Parliament, his authority has been tested in recent months, including over the chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan and new plans rushed through the House of Commons on Tuesday to introduce a new 12-billion pound ($16.6 billion) levy to fund the National Health Service and reform social care.
He’s also faced criticism from prominent Tories over his approach to the pandemic including proposals -- abandoned for now -- to mandate vaccine certification to allow entry to venues including nightclubs.
Other looming challenges include ending the furlough program that’s supported workers through the pandemic and the removal of a weekly 20-pound social security uplift that’s helped poorer families through the outbreak. There’s also a key round of United Nations climate talks to host, with some in Johnson’s ruling party skeptical of pursuing a green agenda.
Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak is due to make tough tax and spending decisions next month as he grapples to rein in a budget deficit that ballooned to a peacetime record 14% of gross domestic product in the pandemic.
It’s the first major shakeup of Johnson’s top team since a botched reshuffle in February 2020 led to Sajid Javid quitting as Chancellor of the Exchequer just a month before the annual budget, with the premier hurriedly installing the inexperienced Sunak in his place.
In the event that proved an inspired promotion, with Sunak polling among the most popular ministers and gaining plaudits for various Covid support measures -- so much so he’s now viewed as a leading candidate to succeed Johnson. Meanwhile Javid has since returned to the cabinet as health secretary.
©2021 Bloomberg L.P.
BNN Bloomberg Picks
Climate change may halve sugar and coffee output by 2099
Elizabeth Holmes' lawyer pokes at whistle-blower, delicately
Asos pledges to fill half of leadership roles with women by 2030
GM tells some Bolt owners to park 50 feet away from other cars
Federer-backed shoemaker On Holding jumps 46% in U.S. debut
Mercedes sees sales stabilizing at year-end amid chip turmoil