One of Gordon Brown's first acts as Prime Minister has been the abolition of the Department of Trade & Industry (DTI).
In an announcement this afternoon, the new premier outlined significant changes to the UK's machinery of government. The former DTI's role in boosting and regulating the British economy now passes to the newly formed Department for Business, Enterprise & Regulatory Reform (DBERR).
Interestingly, ministers and mandarins at DBERR will be directed to "provide support" to Mr Brown's new "Business Council for Britain".
The council will be composed of "senior business leaders". These captains of industry will provide "independent advice".
The Council will meet twice a year, chaired by a noted biz heavyweight. "Secretaries of State will attend meetings at the invitation of the Council," apparently.
Blighty also gets a new Department for Innovation, Universities & Skills (DIUS), which will take on the old DTI's job of doling out the government research cash. The science budget "will remain ring-fenced".
The Royal Society, Britain's centuries-old premier science thinktank, had this to say regarding the plans:
“Science plays a key role in improving people’s lives and as a driver for the economy. It is to be hoped that this new department will allow greater recognition of, and support for, that role ... we would have preferred the word ‘science’ to have appeared in the new department’s title.”
John Denham will be the new minister-for-boffins at DIUS, and John Hutton will helm DBERR and go to the biz-kingpins' conclaves if he gets an invite.®