The Department of Trade and Industry has refuted the CBI’s claims that it could be abolished without having any significant impact on employers.
The president of the CBI employers’ body, Martin Broughton, told The Times earlier this week that, due to constant ministerial changes, the government had not dealt with the Department of Trade and Industry “as a serious department”.
Since 1997 there have been six secretaries of state and several dozen ministers.
Broughton, who is also chairman of British Airways, said the department’s abolition would be supported by the CBI as long as its key responsibilities were delegated to other departments.
But a spokesman for the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said the department played a key role.
“The DTI has an important role to play in championing employers’ and employees’ interests. We are fully focused on continuing to deliver for taxpayers and for business as we have done with the energy review and Companies Act,” he said.
“The recent capability review of the DTI reported that the department ‘plays a key role in ensuring a successful UK economy’ and noted our strength in delivery.”
David Frost, director-general of the British Chamber of Commerce (BCC) also voiced his support for the Department of Trade and Industry, The Financial Times reports.
“Business sees the two most important objectives for the DTI as championing business interests within government and encouraging a balance between safeguarding employees’ rights and the needs of business,” Frost said.
“Much of what the department does is at the heart of the critical issues that this country faces – competitiveness, globalisation, international trade, employment rights, innovation and energy.”
Frost concluded that the DTI could be improved, but said the department still had a very important function to fulfil.
“The DTI is not perfect, but the voice of business is already under-represented in central government,” he said.