Government combines Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy in new department

The Department for Energy and Climate Change has been axed and replaced by the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, one of the latest changes in a tumultuous month for UK politics.

Greg Clark is the newly appointed Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. He 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."

The CBI had called for a modern Industrial Strategy earlier this year and manufacturer organisation EEF welcomed the news. The IET called on the department to make skills a priority.

Terry Scuoler, CEO of EEF, said: “This is a welcome move and demonstrates a new, serious purpose to this Government reflective of the times. Now that energy and business policy are merged, 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.

“In light of the challenges ahead, this move is all to the good and should prove to be a powerful tool in driving growth and delivering a more balanced economy. We look forward to working with the new Secretary of State to ensure that our sector continues to deliver jobs, growth and prosperity throughout the UK.”

The Institution of Engineering and Technology's Head of Policy Paul Davies said: “The main priority for this new Government department – as well as giving welcome prominence on the need for an industrial strategy – must be to ensure clear lines of responsibility and accountability for meeting both the UK’s energy needs and fulfilling our industrial and innovation potential as a nation.

“We have long been calling for consistent, long-term government policies for both energy and manufacturing – so this is a golden opportunity to do just that. Effective policies are the key to solving the challenges of the energy trilemma, decarbonisation; security of supply and affordability, and to ensuring the manufacturing sector continues to go from strength to strength. UK manufacturing is growing at the fastest rate for a generation, so we must act now to maintain the momentum.

“The big question mark is skills. Lack of skills continues to threaten all UK engineering, including the manufacturing and energy sectors, so it’s vital that in moving responsibility for the skills agenda to the Department of Education we don’t create a bigger gulf between education and industry.”