Liberal Democrats call for abolition of the DTI

The Liberal Democrats have called for the Department of Trade and Industry
(DTI) to be abolished and its workload distributed to other Government
agencies.

Dr Vincent Cable, the shadow trade and industry minister, accused the DTI of
creating unnecessary bureaucracy and said it no longer had a place in modern
business.

"The DTI should be wound up because it doesn’t perform a function. It
has no real role anymore and only exists as a contact point for industry
without delivering what [industry] actually wants – which is less
regulation," he argued.

In an exclusive interview with Personnel Today, Cable said the DTI actually
adds to the regulatory burden with over-complex legislation and a multitude of
red tape, often pushing government administration onto employers.

"The Government wants companies to do its administration free of charge
through things like family tax credits and student loans collection," he
said.

His solution would be to split the DTI’s duties between other government
departments, such as Work and Pensions and Education and Skills, and to set-up
a new ‘red tape busting’ agency.

Cable also claims the Government is mishandling EU legislation, comparing
the ease with which The Netherlands dealt with working time rules to the UK’s
80-page document.

He went on to criticise the DTI’s decision in October last year to appoint
US management guru Michael Porter to produce a report on productivity in the
UK, claiming he was already something of a cliché in the private sector six
years ago.

He also rejects trade and industry secretary Patricia Hewitt’s criticism of
managers as a key reason for the UK’s poor productivity compared to its major
competitors. Instead of poor management, Cable blames the UK’s disappointing
productivity on ageing capital stock and a chronic lack of investment in
education.

By Ross Wigham

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