Owen Paterson: DECC Should Be Taken Over By Environment Department

  • Date: 10/05/15
  • Owen Paterson, The Sunday Times

With a proper Conservative majority there is a clear opportunity to reduce the number of departments and for the Department of Energy and Climate Change to be taken over by the environment department.

The Tories can be afforded the luxury of basking in the warm glow of victory this weekend. But what matters is what comes next. And there are no lack of challenges to confront.

The first task of this new government is to continue the work on the economy. Calls for an end to austerity are nonsense. We are still borrowing and spending at £200,000 a minute, passing on a colossal debt to our children and grandchildren.

Much of the electorate will support us as we make difficult decisions. And they will need to. No government has ever managed to raise more than 36% of GDP in taxes. And yet public spending consumes 42% of our national output. We must bring this figure down. […]

REDUCING MINISTRIES

Similarly, there is a chance to improve the delivery of government immediately. Coalition required an excessive number of ministers.

With a proper Conservative majority there is a clear opportunity to re-establish cabinet government and possibly to reduce the number of cabinet ministers, and junior ministers, by amalgamating departments.

A classic example would be the Department of Energy and Climate Change, whose competencies could be taken over by the environment department. The DECC has spawned a seriously flawed policy, putting our long-term electricity supply in jeopardy.

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