The government’s decision to rebrand the Department of Trade and Industry has been denounced as “utterly pointless” by the Institute of Directors (IoD).
The IoD said that the rebranding – to ‘The Department for Productivity, Energy and Industry’ - left key questions about the role of the department unanswered.
Richard Wilson, head of business policy at the IoD, said: “The change in the department’s name is utterly pointless, wastes taxpayers’ money and lacks the support of business.”
The changes at the department mean that there is now no minister with responsibility for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
“This is an extraordinary omission given that SMEs make up 99% of the entire UK business population,” Wilson said.
“It is also unclear who is responsible for science and innovation and yet this area is set to consume the lion’s share of the department’s budget by 2008.”
The IoD said it was vital that the government shed some light on the role of the new department as soon as possible.
“The new secretary of state [Alan Johnson] needs to clarify the status of the Department of Trade and Industry’s Five Year Programme, which was published just last year, and explain where the focus of the newly-named department lies,” Wilson said.
"Above all, he needs to deliver – along with the rest of the government - on reducing the burden of regulation and taxation on businesses – these are the principal concerns of UK firms,” he said.