19 July 2016

While all the attention was on Ministerial appointments, sackings and resignations, the Prime Minister has also moved quickly to reshape Whitehall with two departments merged and with some policy areas moved to a new home.

The most important shake up is clearly at the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) which has now been merged into the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS).

The result is the new Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy which will be run by Greg Clark and is so new that it does not yet have its own acronym (BEIS perhaps?).

On his appointment, Mr Clark said: “I am thrilled to have been appointed to lead this new department charged with delivering a comprehensive industrial strategy, leading Government’s relationship with business, furthering our world-class science base, delivering affordable, clean energy and tackling climate change.”

That seems enough for anyone to take on and the Prime Minister Theresa May obviously thought so as she has moved responsibility for further education, skills and higher education away from the Business Department and given them to the new Education Secretary, Justine Greening.

Under Mr Cameron’s Government, the Department for Education (DfE) had responsibility for education and skills only to the point where pupils reached the age of 18. To reflect the shared responsibility, the previous Skills Minister Nick Boles (now resigned) worked for both BIS and DfE.

Immediate business reaction came from EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation with CEO Terry Scuoler welcoming the decision to include industrial strategy in Mr Clark’s remit.

“Now that energy and business policy are merged,” he said, “we have the makings of an industrial strategy that will focus on UK competitiveness and will provide support to our sector as it seeks to overcome the challenges and seize opportunities from the decision to leave the EU.”