From the top · 14 July 2016

All change in small business policy space as May’s dramatic reshuffle comes to an end

reshuffle
Theresa May’s reshuffle has been one of the most dramatic on record

The department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) has been disbanded by new prime minister Theresa May in one of the most radical cabinet reshuffles in decades.

Former communities secretary Greg Clark will now head up a new department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, following May’s commitment on 11 July to create “a proper industrial strategy to get the whole economy firing”.

“I am thrilled to have been appointed to lead this new department,” said Clark, adding that he would be “leading government’s relationship with business, furthering our world-class science base, delivering affordable, clean energy and tackling climate change”.

Responsibility for higher and further education, as well as apprenticeships, is to be transferred to the department for education (DfE) – with Justine Greening newly chosen to lead the agency and take the higher education bill through its second reading parliament.

Sajid Javid, the outgoing business secretary, has been given responsibility for communities and local government, while previous employment minister Pritti Patel is to take on the role of international development secretary.

Changes to the business department have been announced alongside news that Damien Green, a former immigration minister who was a financial journalist before becoming an MP, has been appointed work and pensions minister, heading up the section of government in charge of auto-enrolment.

In the debate leading up to the Brexit referendum, Green championed the needs of small firm owners, arguing: “All of us on both sides of the house who recognise the importance of small businesses for prosperity, entrepreneurship and job creation should listen to their voices. People often complain that politicians do not listen.”

A vocal proponent of leaving the European Union, May’s former leadership rival Andrea Leadsom has been chosen as environment secretary – and will be responsible for supporting rural small business owners as they prepare to lose EU farming subsidies.

The new role will also see her in charge of fisheries and rod licensing, food labelling standards and environmental reporting guidelines.

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ABOUT THE EXPERT

Hannah Wilkinson is a reporter for Business Advice. She studied economics and management at Oxford University and prior to joining Business Advice wrote for Kensington and Chelsea Today about business and economics – as well as running a tutoring company.

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