As part of the new UK Prime Minister’s cabinet reshuffle Greg Clark, the former Communities Secretary, has been announced as the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.
This is a newly created department. The Department for Energy and Climate Change will cease to exist as a separate department.
In an investor communication issued today by DECC, it confirmed that:
Greg Clark “will head a new department that will bring together responsibilities for business, industrial strategy, science, innovation and energy.
This new department will have responsibility for:
- developing and delivering a comprehensive industrial strategy, and leading the Government’s relationship with business;
- furthering the UK’s status at the leading edge of science, research and innovation;
- ensuring that the country has secure energy supplies that are reliable, affordable and clean;
- dealing with climate change
The department will bring together the existing functions of the Department for Energy and Climate Change with the remaining functions of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.
Responsibility for Higher and Further Education policy, apprenticeships and skills is in parallel being transferred from the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills to the Department for Education.
Responsibility for trade policy and export control, as well as the functions previously performed by UK Trade and Investment, are in parallel being transferred to the new Department for International Trade.”
The fact that climate change will cease to be housed within a specific department dedicated to and named by it has caused some concern within some quarters including internationally. However, many people we have spoken to believe that this will put renewables and low carbon very much at the centre of our business and industrial strategy.
It is hoped that it will create a greater degree of engagement and alignment between clean energy and business/industrial policy at a time when infrastructure investment could now be a key part of the UK’s growth strategy.
It is likely and proper that the emphasis will continue to be on affordable energy maintaining the focus on cost efficiencies. This will play well to the clean energy sector, which is increasingly capable in many areas of delivering at grid parity, and is able to compete effectively on cost with other technologies whilst at the same time being able to delivering low carbon solutions at scale and at speed.
Greg Clark has a long standing engagement with climate change and demonstrated a strong commitment to a low carbon economy in his previous role as a shadow Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change. We hope that this will continue to be the case and that the failure to reference climate change in the name of the new department will not impact the focus of the Government in ensuring that the UK continues to meet its carbon reduction targets and increase its renewable energy capacity.
Mr Clark, speaking of his new role, 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."