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Will work with PM to reduce bills for families, says new UK Energy Secretary Claire Coutinho

Will work with PM to reduce bills for families, says new UK Energy Secretary Claire Coutinho
Courtesy: Carl Court / Staff | Getty Images News Via Getty Images

Claire Coutinho, the London-born daughter of Indian medics, has pledged to work on reducing bills for families struggling with a cost-of-living crisis as she became the latest British Indian minister to be elevated to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s Cabinet.

As the new Energy Security and Net Zero Secretary, the 38-year-old former aide to Sunak in the Treasury department was promoted from her junior education ministerial role in a mini reshuffle this week to become the second Goan-origin minister after Home Secretary Suella Braverman.

It is a big promotion for the pro-Brexit politician with a Master’s in Maths and Philosophy from the University of Oxford, who was elected Conservative Party MP for East Surrey in 2019.

“Growing up, I watched my parents work as GPs (general practitioners) in the NHS, listening to people's problems and solving them as best they could. It is in that spirit that I hope to serve the people of East Surrey,” she said at the time.

“I started my career at Merrill Lynch, before leaving the City for a career in social justice policy. I focused on a wide range of issues from education to financial inclusion, to the regeneration of deprived communities including at the Centre for Social Justice. I then spent two years within Government as a Special Adviser, including at HM Treasury,” she said.

Coutinho worked closely with Sunak in his role as Chief Secretary to the Treasury and backed him for Prime Minister in the Tory leadership campaign last year. On entering 10 Downing Street in October last year, Sunak appointed her as Parliamentary Under-Secretary in the Department for Education.

After her promotion, she noted: “Big thank you to my stellar team who supported me as Minister for Children, Families and Wellbeing. I know my successor, David Johnston, will be champing at the bit to improve the lives of children and families up and down the country.


Will work with PM to reduce bills for families, says new UK Energy Secretary Claire Coutinho
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“From the largest expansion of childcare in history, to our new Freedom of Speech Act, to driving forward reforms in SEND, for foster carers, in children’s social care and for childminders. It has been a privilege to work with so many talented people.”

Coutinho steps in at the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero as Grant Shapps takes charge as Defence Secretary following the resignation of Ben Wallace, resulting in the mini reshuffle.

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