Constitutional Change in the United Kingdom

By F. N. Forman | Go to book overview

Appendix 2

Changes in Departmental structures and Ministerial responsibilities in June 2001
On 8th June 2001, the day after the General Election, the Prime Minister made a number of major changes to the machinery of central Government. Taken together, they were intended to ensure a much sharper focus upon the Government's priorities for its second term and the need to deliver better public services.
• An Office of the Deputy Prime Minister was established within the Cabinet Office. John Prescott was the chosen Minister and it was announced that, among other things, he would have responsibility for the Social Exclusion Unit, the Regional Coordination Unit and the Government Offices in the Regions. He would also chair Cabinet Committees on Domestic Affairs, the Nations and the Regions, and on the Environment.
• A new Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs under Margaret Beckett was established to replace the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, and to take on responsibility for the environment, rural development, countryside and wildlife, and sustainable development from the huge Ministerial portfolio of the previous Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (DETR). It would also take on responsibility for animal welfare and hunting from the Home Office.
• A new Department for Transport, Local Government and the Regions under Stephen Byers would take on the responsibility of the previous DETR for these subjects, together with housing, planning and urban regeneration. It would also take over responsibility for the Fire Service and for electoral law from the Home Office.
• A new Department for Work and Pensions under Alastair Darling would bring together the previous Department of Social Security (DSS) and the Employment Service (formerly under the Department for Education and Employment) and be charged with continuing the reform of the welfare state. It would combine the employment and disability responsibilities of the former DfEE with the welfare and pensions responsibilities of the former DSS.
• A new Department for Education and Skills under Estelle Morris would focus upon the further raising of education standards, especially in secondary schools. It would also seek to get more students into higher education and to improve work-based training and lifelong learning.
• The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) under Patricia Hewitt would take over responsibility for the Regional Development Agencies and for the construction industry from the former DETR, while a single Minister of State holding office in the DTI and the FCO would take responsibility for British Trade International. It would also take over the

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