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Universities moved into schools department

Higher education has been shifted into the Department for Education.

The former Department for Business, Innovation and Skills appears to have retained research, but it has lost both universities and international trade, while gaining climate change. It is likely to be called the Department for Business, Energy and Industry.

Schools will dominate the Department for Education’s budget, accounting for three-quarters spending. Universities will occupy just 20 per cent of the combined spreadsheet. Spending on higher education had previously been protected by the argument that research boost economic growth, an idea that is less relevant to its new home.

A Number 10 spokeswoman said: “Bringing these responsibilities together will mean that the government can take a comprehensive, end-to-end view of skills and education, supporting people from early years through to postgraduate study and work.”

The Department for Education will take on responsibility for reforming higher education "to boost competition and continue to improve the quality of education that students receive." Staff working on higher education policy will also move departments.

Meanwhile Theresa May has appointed Justine Greening as education secretary.

Greening was previously international development secretary. She has also served as transport secretary and as economic secretary to the Treasury over the past six years. Greening studied economics at the University of Southampton; she also has an MBA from the London Business School. Before entering parliament, she was an accountant, working at companies including Price Waterhouse Coopers, GlaxoSmithKline and Centrica.

Earlier on 14 July it was announced that the second reading of the higher education and research bill had been scheduled for 19 July. However the bill is sponsored by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. Its fate is now also uncertain.

Sally Hunt, general secretary of the University and College Union, called on the government to scrap the bill. She said in a statement: “The extraordinary events of the past three weeks mean it is quite absurd to believe domestic politics can simply carry on regardless.The bill was conceived in a pre-Brexit world and, whatever its merits or otherwise, its significance for higher education is dwarfed by the implications of the UK leaving the EU. Now the universities and skills brief has been moved into a different government department it is time to put the bill to one side.”