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Science minister’s job ‘made difficult’ by Whitehall boundaries

Image: Eric Lyus [CC BY-SA 2.0], via geograph

Reporting to two different government departments puts “a very heavy responsibility” on the science and universities minister, a previous post-holder has said.

David Willetts, a former science and universities minister and a Conservative peer, said on 11 June that the division of different areas of policy concerning universities between the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and the Department for Education made the task of developing coherent policies much harder.

Universities moved from the business to the education department in July 2016, shortly after Theresa May arrived at 10 Downing Street and undertook a complete overhaul of Whitehall. Since then, successive science and universities ministers, including Chris Skidmore, have had to report to BEIS on matters of research and innovation and to the Department for Education on issues concerning higher education.

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