What is on the immediate to-do list for five key new cabinet ministers?

A landslide majority may have been secured, but several cabinet ministers have immediate issues to confront now they are safely installed in Whitehall. With the new government needing to make an early impression, here we look at five figures with pressing concerns.

Rachel Reeves, chancellor of the exchequer

Photograph: Jack Taylor/Getty Images

She will have some huge early decisions to make. Taxes on private schools, non-doms and oil and gas companies will have to be enacted, but there is a bigger immediate question. The Tory government’s spending plans run out in April 2025, meaning a spending review – with all its difficult trade-offs – will have to take place this year. Does Reeves simply roll on existing spending settlements for a year to give herself more time to make the big calls? Or does she go with a longer-term settlement to foster the stability and growth she has placed at the centre of her project?

Angela Rayner, deputy prime minister and secretary of state for levelling up, housing and communities

Photograph: Andy Buchanan/PA

Labour’s plans for growth rest on huge reforms to the planning system and housebuilding. While this will be grasped by both Keir Starmer and Reeves from Downing Street, it will fall to Rayner to turn the ambitious language into delivery. It will involve early reform plans that will no doubt meet resistance in parliament and society.

Wes Streeting, secretary of state for health and social care

Photograph: Christopher Thomond/The Guardian

Expectations are high for Labour to restore the NHS. But Streeting will face an immediate battle with junior doctors, who are still threatening strikes later this year if their pay dispute cannot be resolved. In the longer term, Streeting has set himself the tough aim of hitting waiting-list targets in five years. Manifesto plans for 2m extra scans, operations and outpatient appointments a year is the main route to achieving this, which will require buying a serious amount of kit. Then there’s the £125m dentistry package, as well as the task of starting to recruit 8,500 new mental health staff.

David Lammy, secretary of state for foreign, Commonwealth and development affairs

Photograph: Jordan Pettitt/PA

There had been rumours that Lammy may not be appointed as foreign secretary should Labour form the government – Douglas Alexander’s return to parliament had some suspecting he would step in – but now safely in the post, Lammy has an overflowing inbox. It will kick off with a delicate reset of EU relations, as the UK hosts a meeting of the European Political Community in less than a fortnight. On Gaza, there is also a decision to be made about Palestinian statehood, something Lammy has said Labour would consider once a ceasefire was secured. Then, there’s the small matter of US relations – Lammy has said some incendiary things about Donald Trump.

Yvette Cooper, home secretary

Photograph: Leon Neal/Getty Images

A Labour government sees “stop the boats” become “smash the gangs”, with Cooper charged with overseeing a new group tasked with taking on the networks behind the perilous Channel crossings. The Rwanda scheme will be scrapped straight away. Some of the structural changes can start quickly, but seriously reducing the numbers via new returns agreements is a harder diplomatic task. The changing political make-up in France could make the task more difficult. Some hard-right figures have challenged the current UK-France cooperation on border controls.

The Guardian

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