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Tuesday, 12 June, 2001, 11:16 GMT 12:16 UK
Business guide to the new government

Just days after his re-election, Tony Blair has dramatically reshuffled his cabinet. New people are in charge, and government departments themselves have been overhauled. BBC News Online explains what the changes mean for UK business.

Gordon Brown, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, has again spread his net widely across the other economic departments of government.

Where to go in Whitehall
Agriculture: Alun Michael, DEFRA
Banking regulation: Ruth Kelly, Treasury
Competition: Doug Alexander, DTI
Construction: DTI
E-commerce: Doug Alexander, DTI
Employment relations: Alan Johnson, DTI
Employment: Nick Brown, DWP
Energy: Ian McCartney, DTI
Environment: Michael Meacher, DEFRA
Euro: Ruth Kelly, Treasury
Fishing: Elliot Morley, DEFRA
Industry: Ian McCartney, DTI
Inward investment: Baroness Symons, DTI
International aid: Hilary Benn, DFIAD
Media: Kim Howells, DCMS
Pensions: Ian McCartney, DWP
Planning: Lord Falconer, DTLR
Small firms: DTI
Regional aid: Alan Johnson, DTI
Research: Lord Sainsbury, DTI
Tourism: Kim Howells, DCMS
Training: Margaret Hodge, DfE
Transport: John Spellar, DTLR
Urban regeneration: Nick Raynsford, DTLR
His own ministry, the Treasury, undergoes only minor changes, with a former Bank of England official, Ruth Kelly, becoming economic secretary in charge of financial regulation and euro preparations, while the Treasury's first black minister, Paul Boateng, moves over from the Home Office to become financial secretary.

At the Department of Trade and Industry, under new Secretary of State Patricia Hewitt, a key Brown ally Douglas Alexander - Labour's campaign co-ordinator - becomes the number two, in charge of competition policy and e-commerce.

The combination of the two roles reflects the importance the government now gives to both e-commerce and competition. For the latter a new bill will take competition decisions out of politics - although before it goes through, Patricia Hewitt will still have to make some key rulings, for example on the Lloyds TSB-Abbey National bid.

Another key appointment is Baroness Symons, the former head of the First Division Association of civil servants, who becomes trade minister (a joint appointment with the Foreign Office) - part of the drive to ensure that the UK remains an attractive location for inward investment.

Former trade unionist, Alan Johnson of the Communications Workers Union, keeps his role as employment relations minister, but is promoted to minister of state, adding regional development to his brief.

Completing the ministerial team at the DTI is Brian Wilson, a member of the "Scottish mafia", who becomes industry and energy minister with responsibility to ensure that another BMW-Rover bombshell does not destabilise the government.

And junior ministers Nigel Griffiths (sacked earlier as competition minister) and Melanie Johnson (previously a Treasury junior minister) also have links to the Chancellor.

The DTI has gained some new responsibilities - notably for regional development agencies from the former DETR - but failed to gain control of communications policy from new Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell.

Ministry for Work and Pensions

Meanwhile, the new department for work and pensions (DWP), under the Chancellor's former ally and chief secretary to the treasury Alistair Darling, is reshaped in Mr Brown's image.

The former DSS has taken employment policy from the Education Department, and now will try and implement Labour's policy of making work pay - with job centres being merged with benefit offices, and everyone under retirement age urged to look at job opportunities rather than welfare.

The key ministerial appointment is Nick Brown, the former agriculture minister, who is demoted to become minister for work.

Another early Brown supporter, Ian McCartney, becomes minister for pensions, while the second of the Eagle sisters, Maria Eagle, becomes a junior minister in the department.

Joined-up government?

However, responsibility for many key policies affecting business remains split among several other government departments.

Most importantly, planning remains with the shrunken Department of Transport, Local Government and Regions (DTLR) - and planning delays have been widely blamed for hold-ups in government investment projects.

Stephen Byers, the former trade secretary, has taken over that ministry, with a key role to improve the UK's failing infrastructure.

Environmental regulation - another concern of business - has been transferred to a newly strengthened Department of Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) under Margaret Beckett.

Former left-winger Michael Meacher, however, remains environment minister, while fomer Welsh first minister Alun Michael becomes rural affairs minister with responsibility for agriculture.

The DEFRA also gains responsbility for tourism from DCMS.

And training - of key importance to Gordon Brown - remains in the Department for Education and Skills under Margaret Hodge.

Finally, regulation of the communications industry - including a new bill to create a single regulator - remains shared between the Department of Culture, Media and Sport under Tessa Jowell - and the DTI.

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See also:

08 Jun 01 | Business
UK's new trade and industry minister
11 Jun 01 | UK Politics
New green ministry faces tests
18 May 01 | Vote2001
Battle of the Chancellors
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