Tory leader takes wraps off policy and personnel

Social justice and quality of life are to be the subjects of two key policy groups set up by new Conservative Party leader David Cameron last week.

Cameron announced that the quality of life task group, chaired by Planning columnist and former environment secretary John Gummer, will scrutinise key issues such as urban planning, transport, housing, the environment, the countryside, energy and climate change.

"The environment and quality of life are central components of my political agenda," said Cameron. He pledged to seek a consensual approach to quality of life issues, which will include working with the government and the Liberal Democrats on policies to tackle climate change.

"We are not going to do this in a four to five-year political time period," Cameron acknowledged. "We need all political parties to agree about some of the steps that we have to take."

The social justice policy group will be led by former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith. The Conservatives said that it will examine ways of enabling the poor and under-privileged to climb the ladder from poverty to wealth.

The policy group will look at a wide range of measures to alleviate poverty, including neighbourhood renewal, fostering social enterprise and empowering the voluntary sector.

Meanwhile, Cameron has reappointed Caroline Spelman as shadow secretary of state for the ODPM and confirmed Commons environmental audit committee chairman Peter Ainsworth as shadow secretary of state for environment, food and rural affairs.

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