Ministerial reshuffle riles industry heads

Industry appeals for a coherent government approach to travel have been shunned, with a ministerial reshuffle producing an increased number of departments dealing with the sector.

Major companies and industry bodies also face dealing with a raft of ministers unfamiliar with their departments

A new Department of Energy and Climate Change, headed by former Treasury advisor Ed Miliband, has been added to the seven ministries already overseeing policies affecting travel.

There is no change at the top of the Treasury, which continues to look at a replacement for Air Passenger Duty and other taxes at a time when government finances are under extreme pressure.

But there is a new secretary of state, Geoff Hoon, at the Department for Transport. Hoon and former education minister Lord Adonis will decide whether to extend consumer protection to scheduled airlines and whether to expand Heathrow.

Peter Mandelson has been recalled from the Europe Commission to take over at the Department of Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform despite twice having had to resign from the government.

Official responsibility for tourism remains under The Department for Culture, Media and Sport where new tourism minister Barbara Follett takes office under new secretary Andy Burnham – the former sports minister.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has new secretary Hilary Benn to oversee environmental policy affecting tourism. But there is no major change at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, which works with tour operators overseas, or at the Home Office which oversees airport security

A ninth department, of Innovation, Universities and Skills – headed by John Denham – is responsible for training.

Tourism minister Follett, MP for Stevenage, has a background in public relations. She replaces Margaret Hodge, who has left for personal reasons, and is the eighth minister in the post in 11 years.

Follett was criticised earlier this year for claiming £1,600 in parliamentary expenses for a window-cleaning bill.

Among the first tasks facing the new energy secretary will be deciding whether to include air travel in emissions-reduction targets. Aviation has so far been excluded, but the government-appointed Climate Change Committee this week recommended including airlines in an 80% reduction by 2050.

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