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Secretary of State for Trade and Industry

  Overall responsibility for the Department of Trade and Industry and the Export Credits Guarantee Department.

Stephen Byers was appointed Secretary of State for Trade and Industry on 23 December 1998. He was previously Chief Secretary to the Treasury from 27 July 1998.

Mr Byers was Schools Standards Minister at the Department for Education and Employment from 6 May 1997. During his time at DfEE, he spearheaded much of the Government’s radical and innovative education legislation including the School Standards and Framework Act.

Mr Byers, 45, is MP for North Tyneside. He was educated at Chester City Grammar School, Chester College of Further Education and Liverpool Polytechnic. He is a former senior lecturer in law.

Mr Byers was a member of the North Tyneside Metropolitan District Council from 1980 to 1992 and Chairman of the Association of Metropolitan Authorities’ Education Committee from 1990-92.

He was deputy leader of North Tyneside Council from 1986-92 and chair of the Council of Local Education Authorities.

Mr Byers became an MP in 1992 and in 1994 was appointed opposition whip. The following year he became opposition spokesman on Education and Employment.




Minister for Energy and Competitiveness in Europe

  Energy including sponsorship of the oil and gas industries, European Single Market, economic reform and enlargement, and business preparation for the Euro.

Before joining the DTI, Helen Liddell was Minister for Transport at the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions, a post she held from 17 May 1999.

Helen Liddell was Minister for Education at the Scottish Office from 29 July 1998. She became a Privy Councillor on 27 October 1998.

She was Economic Secretary to the Treasury from May 1997 with responsibility for the city including financial services, banking and building society regulation.

From 1995-1997 she was Opposition Spokeswoman on Scotland.

She is MP for Airdrie and Shotts and has been a Member of Parliament since June 1994. She was educated at St Patrick’s High School, Coatbridge, and Strathclyde University.

Helen Liddell was economics correspondent for BBC Scotland (1976-77); General Secretary of the Scottish Labour Party (1977-88); Director, Corporate Affairs, Scottish Daily Record and Sunday Mail (1986) Ltd (1988-92) and Chief Executive, Business Venture Programme (1993-4).

In her spare time, Mrs Liddell enjoys cooking, hill-walking, music and writing.

Mrs Liddell is married with one son and one daughter.




Minister for Trade


  Trade Policy, ECGD, Trade Partners UK, Invest UK and regional policy and export projects.
Prior to joining the DTI, Mr Caborn was Minister of State for the Regions, Regeneration and Planning at the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions, a post he held from May 1997. His responsibilities included regional development strategy, regeneration and planning issues.

Mr Caborn, Member of Parliament for Sheffield Central since 1983, was the Shadow Minister for National Competitiveness and Regulation in the office of the Deputy Prime Minister and opposition spokesman for economic development in the English Regions.

Mr Caborn was Chairman of the Trade and Industry Select Committee 1992-1995. He was appointed to the Privy Council in 1999.

He was a member of the opposition Department of Trade and Industry team 1987-1990 and is a former member of the European Economic Community Select committee.

He was Euro-MP for Sheffield from 1979-1984.

Mr Caborn was a Trade Union official at Firth Brown Sheffield and a founder member of the Anti-Apartheid Movement. He was Vice-President of the Sheffield Trades Council and is a member of the Amalgamated Engineering and Electrical Union.

Born on 6 October 1943, Mr Caborn was educated at Hurfield Comprehensive School Sheffield, Granville College of Education, and at Sheffield Polytechnic.

Mr Caborn is married with two children and lives in his constituency in Sheffield.




Minister for Small Business and E-Commerce


Small firms, e-commerce and the information society, industry (supported by Alan Johnson), environment, Radiocommunications Agency.


Patricia Hewitt , MP for Leicester West, was formally Economic Secretary at the Treasury.

Ms Hewitt has been a Member of Parliament since 1997. She was educated at the Canberra Girls’Grammar School and Newnham College, Cambridge University.

Patricia Hewitt was Press and Broadcasting Officer (1983-87) and Policy Coordinator (1987-89) to the then Leader of the Opposition, the Rt Hon Neil Kinnock; Deputy Director (1989-94) of the Institute for Public Policy Research, and Director of Research for Anderson Consulting (1994-97).

Ms Hewitt was Deputy Chair of the Commission for Social Justice (1992-94) and was a member of the Social Security Select Committee before taking up her Ministerial post.

In her spare time, Ms Hewitt enjoys reading, theatre, music and gardening.

Ms Hewitt is married with one son and one daughter.




Minister for Science and Innovation


  Science, Research Councils, innovation, design and space.

Lord Sainsbury of Turville was appointed Minister for Science and Innovation in July 1998. He is currently Chairman of the European Space Agency Council at Ministerial level.

Until July 1998, he was Chairman of J Sainsbury plc. He was Finance Director of J Sainsbury plc from 1973-1990 and Deputy Chairman from 1988-1992.

David Sainsbury became Lord Sainsbury of Turville on 3 October 1997.

He was Chairman of the Governing Body of the London Business School from 1991 to 1998, and in 1990 received the Award for Distinguished Leadership in Business from Columbia Business School. He was a member of the Committee of Review of the Post Office (Carter Committee) from 1975-1977, and a member of the Dockland Joint Committee from 1978-1981, and a member of the IPPR Commission on Public Policy and British Business, from 1995 to 1997.

After reading History and Psychology at King’s College, Cambridge, Lord Sainsbury went on to receive an MBA (Master of Business Administration) at the Columbia Graduate School of Business in New York.

He is the author of a Fabian pamphlet "Government and Industry: A New Partnership", and is co-author with Christopher Smallwood of "Wealth Creation and Jobs" published by the Public Policy Centre.




Minister for Consumers and Corporate Affairs

  Competition, Consumer Affairs, company law, corporate governance, company investigations, Insolvency Service, Patent Office, Companies House, National Weights and Measures Laboratory, Export Licensing.
Dr Howells, 51, is MP for Pontypridd. He was educated at Mountain Ash Grammar School, Hornsey College of Art, Cambridge College of Art and Technology and Warwick University.

Before becoming an MP in 1989, Dr Howells worked in a number of industries, including coal and steel, and helped construct a research archive on post war UK energy policy for University College Swansea. He worked for the South Wales miners as their spokesman and research officer and wrote and presented programmes for radio and television.

Dr Howells was appointed Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Lifelong Learning at the Department for Education and Employment in May 1997. He was previously opposition spokesman for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs in 1994 and opposition spokesman for Home Affairs in 1994. In 1995 he was appointed opposition spokesman for Trade and Industry.

His political interests include industry, education and European affairs and he enjoys painting, mountaineering, cycling, jazz and literature.




Minister for Competitiveness 

Industry (with Patricia Hewitt), Employment Relations and Post Office

Alan Johnson was born in 1950. He was educated at Sloane Grammar School in Chelsea, before becoming a postman in 1968. He has been involved in representing employees at local and national level since 1976, and was the General Secretary of the UCW 1993-1995 and Joint General Secretary of the CWU from 1995-1997.

Alan Johnson was a Member of the General Council TUC 1994-1995 and a member of the Labour Party NEC 1995-1997.

He was elected MP for Kingston-upon-Hull West and Hessle in 1997 and was also a member of the Trade and Industry Select Committee 1997. He was previously Parliamentary Private Secretary to Dawn Primarolo MP, the Paymaster General.

Recent Ministers Speeches


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