This written ministerial statement sets out several machinery of government changes that have been made.
A new Department for Exiting the European Union has been created, with responsibility for overseeing preparations for the withdrawal of the UK from the EU and conducting these withdrawal negotiations in support of the Prime Minister. It will also lead work to establish the future relationship between the UK and EU. In doing this it will work very closely with the UK’s Devolved Administrations, the UK Parliament, other government departments and a wide range of other interested parties. The new department will be formed by combining staff from the Cabinet Office’s Europe Unit, the Europe Directorate of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, and the UK’s Permanent Representation to the EU; and in time will take on staff from other government departments as is needed.
A new Department for International Trade has also been created, with overall responsibility for promoting British trade across the world. It will develop, coordinate and deliver a new trade policy for the UK, including preparing for and then negotiating Free Trade Agreements and market access deals with non-EU countries. The new department will be a specialised body with significant new trade negotiating capacity. It will take on the responsibilities of UK Trade and Investment, the relevant trade functions of the former Department for Business Innovation and Skills; and take on responsibility for UK Export Finance.
The functions of the former Department for Business, Innovation and Skills in respect of higher and further education policy, apprenticeships and skills have been transferred to the Department for Education. Bringing these responsibilities together in a single department will mean that the Government can take a comprehensive, end-to-end view of skills and education, supporting people from early years through to postgraduate study and work.
The Department for Energy and Climate Change and the remaining functions of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills have been merged to form a new Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, bringing together responsibility for business, industrial strategy, and science and innovation with energy and climate change policy. The new department will be responsible for helping to ensure that the economy grows strongly in all parts of the country, based on a robust industrial strategy. It will ensure that the UK has energy supplies that are reliable, affordable and clean; and it will make the most of the economic opportunities of new technologies, and support the UK’s global competitiveness more effectively.
More detailed Cabinet Office papers on each of these changes have been placed in the Library of both Houses.