David Cameron to Shake Up Cabinet amid Gloomy Economy
Prime Minister David Cameron is reportedly preparing to reshuffle his cabinet in an attempt to restore confidence in the coalition.
However, it is expected that senior cabinet members including foreign secretary William Hague, home secretary Theresa May, education secretary Michael Gove and defence secretary Philip Hammond will retain their current roles - limiting the chances of a major reconfiguration.
The prime minister has already ruled out sacking chancellor George Osborne, who has been widely criticised for his handling of Britain's faltering economy. Some commentators had previously suggested that Cameron would force Osborne into a job swap with Hague, who is thought to enjoy greater popularity within the Conservative party.
If Cameron does go ahead with the reshuffle, it will be his first since taking power in May 2010.
MPs have now returned to work after parliament's summer recess, and Osborne has already prepared a series of measures to stimulate Britain's economy, which has shrunk in each of the last three consecutive quarters.
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The chancellor's measures include a new bank to fund small businesses, the deregulation of planning laws to facilitate development of green belt land, and guarantees for up to £10bn of new housbuilding by housing associations and private developers.
During an interview with the BBC, Osborne also said that the option of a third runway at Heathrow will be "examined", despite the coalition's well-publicised opposition to such a development.
He added: "We have to do more and we have to do it faster. They are difficult times for the British economy, difficult times for the world but our economy is healing, jobs are being created, it is taking time, but there is no easy route to a magical recovery."
Meanwhile, Cameron wrote in the Mail on Sunday: "Frankly, I am frustrated by the hoops you have to jump through to get anything done - and I come back to parliament more determined than ever to cut through the dither that holds this country back.
"A key part of recovery is building the houses our people need, but a familiar cry goes up. 'Yes we want more housing; but no to every development -- and not in my back yard'. We're on a hard road to balancing Britain's books."
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