Business as usual as DTI ditches name change

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Indy Politics

As a rebranding exercise it must count as one of the least successful - and shortest lived - in British industrial history.

Less than a week after being called the Department for Productivity Energy and Industry, the government office dedicated to commerce was back in business as the Department of Trade and Industry last night.

The post election Cabinet reshuffle did away with the DTI in a bid to update its image from its days as a Seventies monolith which oversaw nationalised industries, had regular run-ins with the unions and dealt with the fall-out of the three day week.

But their bid to get up to date lasted a matter of days. Alan Johnson, named Secretary of State for Productivity, Energy and Industry in the reshuffle had a new job title last night.

A spokesman said: "The reason the name was chosen was to reflect the strategic sweep and changing nature of the department - we are focussing on productivity and that's not changing. With the inclusion of energy in the title we were reflecting the increasing importance of energy on the agenda." But he added "the loss of the word trade had caused concern" among the business community.

The Confederation for British Industry was reported to have criticised the "old-fashioned corporatism" of the new title and wags had nicknamed the DPEI as "dippy".

Mr Johnson, a Blairite moderniser, told the FT he did not approve of this ill-fated attempt to move with the times. He said he had no idea who had come up with the makeover. "It certainly wasn't me."

The department's U turn - thought to have cost a six figure sum - would involve little more than using "one screwdriver to take down three letters [and] screwing [them] back up".