Whitehall, London

Government restructure to drive increased focus on science

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has confirmed the breakup of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, in favour of an energy department with increased focus on net zero.

Theresa May was behind the formation of the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy six and a half years ago, whilst also creating the Department for International Trade which is also to be scrapped.

The new Department for Energy Security and Net Zero will bring a new focus on ensuring the security of the nation’s long-term energy supply, something that is becoming increasingly important as energy costs continue to rise. This government stated that this decision comes with the recognition that households are being forced to pay more for their energy, mainly due to wider global events. The need for a longer-term energy strategy also comes with an increased national focus on achieving net zero carbon emissions and securing more energy from domestic nuclear and renewable sources.

A new Science, Innovation and Technology department is also being introduced to drive innovation that will increase the standards off public services, deliver new skilled jobs and support the economy. It is also hoped that this department will increase the focus on ensuring that scientific and technical innovations turn into practical solutions to many of the challenges being faced around the country, with the wider goal of securing the UK’s status as the most innovative economy in the world.

To support the changes, there has also been a change to the structure of two other departments. A standalone Department for Business and Trades will support national growth through the backing of British businesses, whilst promoting investment and free trade. The Department for Culture, Media and Sport is also to be refocused to recognise the importance of those industries to the economy, as well as building on the country’s position as a global leader in the arts.

The announcement from the government also confirmed who will lead these new departments. Current Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Grant Shapps, is to lead the Energy Security and Net Zero department, Michelle Donelan, current culture secretary, will take over the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, whilst Kemi Badenoch will lead the Department for Business and Trade. Lucy Frazer will also become the Culture Secretary.

In the foreword to his policy paper Rishi Sunak said that the changes will “allow us to build a more prosperous future for our children and grandchildren because the countries that will lead the world in the decades to come will be those that have the vision and confidence to adapt and change – to do things differently and better. The new clarity and focus we are providing today will allow our country to rise to this challenge.

“And now it is the task of every one of us in government – Ministers, advisors and the hundreds of thousands of dedicated civil servants up and down the country – to get on and deliver for you, the British people.”

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