LONDON, May 11 (Reuters) - Re-elected British Prime Minister David Cameron named Greg Hands as chief secretary to the Treasury on Monday, giving him a key role in the government's renewed push to cut spending and bring down the budget deficit.
Hands, a 49 year-old former banker, was once an aide to finance minister George Osborne to whom he will now play the role of deputy. Hands worked most recently as a government whip, a job which enforces party discipline in parliament.
He replaces Danny Alexander whose Liberal Democrats party was a coalition partner in Cameron's first government but is now in opposition after suffering big losses in the May 7 election.
The chief secretary to the Treasury is usually responsible for negotiating the budgets of government departments and public sector pay.
Osborne halved the budget deficit between 2010 and 2015 but failed to meet his original target of largely eliminating the shortfall by now with the deficit still standing at nearly 5 percent of annual economnic output.
Osborne is aiming to return the public finances to surplus by the 2018/19 tax year and has promised to do it by making further cuts to public spending, including big savings in the country's welfare budget.
Hands, who was born in New York, speaks French, German, Czech and Slovak, according to his website. (Writing by William Schomberg; additional reporting Maytaal Angel; editing by Kate Holton)