The UK government has recently announced a major restructuring, dividing the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) into three separate entities to enable more targeted objectives. This significant change paves the way for the creation of new departments, each focusing on a specific area of expertise.
Grant Shapps has been named the leader of the newly formed Department for Energy Security and Net Zero. This government office aims to guarantee the UK’s long-term energy supply while reducing energy bills and cutting inflation by half. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak believes that this new department will play a crucial role in ensuring the nation’s energy security.
In addition to the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero, the government has established the Department for Science, Innovation, and Technology, led by Michelle Donelan. This department’s primary goal is to foster innovation and drive economic growth by improving public services, creating better-paying jobs, and transforming scientific and technical advancements into practical solutions.
Prime Minister Sunak emphasised the importance of a dedicated department focused on turning innovations into tangible benefits for the country. He envisions the UK becoming the world’s most innovative economy through this strategic move.
Sir Paul Nurse, director of the Francis Crick Institute, expressed strong support for the creation of the Department for Science, Innovation, and Technology. Nurse believes that this move will help secure the UK’s position as a global science superpower, promoting economic growth and societal welfare.
Michelle Donelan and her team are expected to focus on integrating science across government departments and the Cabinet, advocating for sustainable R&D funding, and enhancing support for UK research endeavours.
Furthermore, the government has merged the business and trade sectors under the leadership of Kemi Badenoch to create the Department for Business and Trade. This department will work to boost growth by supporting British businesses domestically and internationally, promoting investment, and encouraging free trade.
Ross Easton, interim chief executive of Energy Network Association (ENA), welcomed the creation of a dedicated department for energy security and net zero. However, he emphasised that the true test lies in the implementation of high-quality policies that ensure safe, secure, sustainable, and reliable energy supplies for customers both now and in the future.
Christophe Junillon, managing director for Nuclear & Power, EMEA, Atkins, also highlighted the positive impact of a department focused on prioritising the UK’s energy transition and accelerating new generation projects. This change, according to Junillon, presents significant opportunities for economic growth across the country.