I do not accept the view that a Chief Secretary has to be a City figure who knows the markets. The Chief Secretary’s job is a very political one, based on doing deals with Cabinet colleagues over their budgets. Mr Alexander’s close proximity to the Deputy Prime Minister and his Lib Dem colleagues is his strength. His success or failure will depend on how well he helps choose the cuts for other departments, and how well he helps Cabinet colleagues sell these to the country. He needs to protect schools and hospitals whilst cutting out waste and less desirable spending throughout Whitehall and indirectly throughout town halls. None of this requires City experience. It requires a close working knowledge of Whitehall budgets and public sector management.
About John RedwoodJohn Redwood has been the Member of Parliament for Wokingham since 1987. First attending Kent College, Canterbury, he graduated from Magdalen College, and has a DPhil from All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has been a director of NM Rothschild merchant bank and chairman of a quoted industrial PLC.
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