Brown planning to scrap DTI

Gordon Brown is almost certain to close the
Department of Trade and
when he becomes prime minister as part of a plan to
shake-up the structure of Whitehall.

Sunday Times
reports that Brown is considering proposals to
abolish the DTI and replace it with a strengthened energy department. The DTI’s
other responsibilities will be distributed among other departments.

If the move does go ahead as expected Alistair Darling, the trade and
industry secretary, will be the last person to lead the department. Darling has
already been touted as potential successor to Brown as chancellor.

The shake-up is being considered in order improve the use of taxpayer’s
money. Brown has always held scant regard for the DTI, which he has regarded as
representing a throwback to old style corporatism.

The DTI employs 10,400 civil servants. Over the years it has lost
responsibility for overseeing mergers and takeovers to the Competition
Commission and Office of Fair Trading. City regulation is handled by the
Financial Services Authority.

The DTI has been the key regulator involved in the company law reform ball,
however, and also funds the Financial
Reporting Council
 and was involved in launching the Oxera report
on competition and choice in the audit market.

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