Mandelsons nieuwe ministerie “will create a single department committed to building Britain’s future economic strengths”, zo meldt Brown in een toelichting op deze uitkomst van zijn reshuffle. “To compete in a global economy and create the jobs of the future Britain requires a regulatory environment that encourages enterprise, skilled people, innovation, and world-class science and research.
‘It brings together the parts of the government with key expertise in these areas. It combines BERR’s strengths in shaping the enterprise environment, analysing the strengths and needs of the various parts of British industry, building strategies for industrial strength and expertise in better regulation with DIUS’s expertise in maintaining world class universities, expanding access to higher education, investing in the UK’s science base and shaping skills policy and innovation through bodies such as the Technology Strategy Board. It also puts the UK’s Further Education system and universities closer to the heart of government thinking about building now for the upturn.”
Bahram Bekhradnia, de directeur van het Higher Education Policy Institute, noemt deze ontwikkeling niettemin “very unsettling and disappointing.” Dat het HO nu onder de meest geprononceerde en minst beschadigde van Browns ministers komt, heeft mogelijk gunstige effecten, zo hoopt hij.
“The positive is that higher education has a very senior, hard-hitting Cabinet minister speaking for it. I think that shouldn’t be underestimated. However, the negatives just stack up. I don’t see it as a particular positive that higher education is closely associated with business. There is no real suggestion, I don’t think, that higher education hasn’t met the needs of Britain’s economy or business in the recent past. The real danger is that it should simply be regarded as another instrument of business development, and that its non-economic benefits will be neglected and disregarded.”