Doing the BIS: Lord Mandelson’s New Empire

The two-year-old Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills (DIUS) has been merged with the Department for Business, Enterprise & Regulatory Reform (BERR) to create a new Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (DBIS or is it just BIS?).

This is yet another example of personality-driven reorganisations of government departments with minimal thought and zero scrutiny. In this case, the personality to be satisfied is that of Lord Mandelson, First Secretary of State for Running the Country and Lord High Executioner (I made the last bit up, just).

The new Department has no fewer than 11 Ministers, including its unelected Secretary of State – insiders believe it is the largest department ever created in the long history of re-dis-organisations in Whitehall.

DIUS lasted a mere two-years, at who knows what cost. I confidently predict that DBIS will beat it by lasting less than 12 months.

The full list of DBIS Ministers is below… and this doesn’t include the new ‘enterprise czar’ Sir, soon to be Lord, Alan Sugar. And six of these Ministers, including Lord Mandelson, are unelected and in the House of Lords. You really couldn’t make this stuff up.

Department for Business, Innovation and Skills

  • Minister of State – The Rt Hon Pat McFadden MP**
  • Minister of State – The Rt Hon Lord Drayson* & ** (jointly with the Ministry of Defence)
  • Minister of State – The Rt Hon David Lammy MP
  • Minister of State – The Rt Hon Rosie Winterton MP*** (jointly with the Department for Communities and Local Government)
  • Minister of State – Lord Davies of Abersoch CBE* (jointly with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office)
  • Minister of State – Kevin Brennan MP (jointly with the Department for Children, Schools and Families)
  • Parliamentary Under Secretary of State – Lord Carter of Barnes (jointly with the Department for Culture, Media and Sport)
  • Parliamentary Under Secretary of State – Ian Lucas MP
  • Parliamentary Under Secretary of State – Baroness Vadera (jointly with Cabinet Office)
  • Parliamentary Under Secretary of State* – Lord Young of Norwood Green (and Lord in Waiting – paid)

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