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Last Updated: Thursday, 28 June 2007, 15:08 GMT 16:08 UK
A new face at the Treasury
Andy Burnham
The new chief secretary to the Treasury is an avid football fan
One of the new faces in Gordon Brown's first cabinet is the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Andy Burnham.

Mr Burnham will play a crucial role in shaping government spending plans over the next three years.

As chief secretary, he will be in charge of the comprehensive spending review, due in October, which sets departmental priorities.

Mr Burnham has plenty of ministerial experience in key spending departments, including health and the home office.

He was previously health minister, making decisions about the largest single budget in Whitehall - the NHS.

He was also the junior Home Office minister in charge of identity cards, another item which is expected to be costly when it is fully implemented.

He has been judged a good communicator in putting the government's case in these difficult areas.

And he will need all his presentational skills in his new job, as the forthcoming spending round is likely to be extremely tight, with some departments suffering cuts in real terms.

Rapid rise

Andy Burnham has enjoyed a rapid political rise, and made a seamless transition from supporting Mr Blair to Mr Brown as a leading light in the "Blairites for Brown" faction.

He was only elected as an MP in 2001, representing the safe seat of Leigh where he grew up, and only joined the government after the 2005 election.

Mr Burnham had a political career before becoming an MP, however, as a special adviser to the Department of Culture, Media and Sport in the first term of the Labour government, and before that was a research assistant to Tessa Jowell, the future culture secretary.

He grew up in Liverpool and was educated at St Aelred's Roman Catholic High School and Cambridge.

He is an active football supporter, and campaigned against the commercialisation of the game and for supporters to play a more active role in running clubs.




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