With the nation waiting to find out who will be Prime Minister, Paul Sanderson looks at the implications for the recycling and waste management sector.
UPDATE 12 May: According to the BBC, Chris Huhne is likely to be Environment and Climate Change secretary. Does this mean the merger of Decc and Defra is on the cards?
As I write this, it is still uncertain who will become Prime Minister and whether the incresingly likely Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition will be confirmed.
Working on the basis that it will happen, it may be a few days before we are certain how this will impact on cabinet and ministerial posts.
It is fair to assume that the Liberal Democrats will want a couple of their highest profile members of their party in cabinet posts. Nick Clegg would be likely to get one of the supposed great offices of state. It is unlikely to be the Treasury as David Cameron is one of the few Tories that appears loyal to George Osborne. So Clegg could be Home Secretary or Foreign Secretary. Vince Cable could be the senior minister in whatever BIS becomes or possibly in the Treasury (although probably not as Chancellor).
With rumours that the Liberal Democrats want three cabinet places, could Decc or Defra be a potential candidate department for a Lib Dem? I think it could and it could well end up being one department. Simon Hughes is the Lib Dems’ shadow energy secretary while Tim Farron is its environment secretary. Of the two, Hughes has the highest profile and energy and climate change is an area where Lib Dem and Conservative policy isn’t greatly different. It would therefore be an easy option to have Hughes as environment secretary responsible for all of the policy areas covered by Defra and Decc at present.
The Lib Dems also called for the departments (and the Department for Transport) to be merged during the election and this would appeal to Tory instincts to cut waste. The only downfall here, would be that the Lib Dems could potentially be in charge of home affairs, business and energy, which might be seen by rank and file Tory’s as having too much power in Government.
But the danger for the recycling and waste management sector is, that if this super department is created, our sector would only be a small part of a very big department and therefore will have to work even harder to get attention than it did prior to the election