Shake-up at departments overseeing travel industry

Ian Taylor

The government reshuffle by new prime minister Theresa May produced changes at the top of almost every department dealing with travel and tourism.

Only tourism minister Tracey

Crouch remains in post at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), following her recent return from maternity leave. The DCMS has a new secretary of state in Karen Bradley, who replaces John Whittingdale. Former foreign secretary Philip Hammond replaces George Osborne as chancellor, with ultimate responsibility for APD and VAT. However, Hammond’s priority will be attempting to stabilise the UK economy in the wake of the EU referendum. David Gauke takes over as chief

secretary to the Treasury, Simon Kirby as economic secretary and Jane Ellison as financial secretary, one of whom will have responsibility for APD. New transport secretary Chris

Grayling is responsible for airport capacity, with the outgoing Patrick McLoughlin moved to Tory party chairman. Former aviation minister Robert Goodwill has moved to the Home Office and has been replaced by Lincolnshire MP

‘Airport capacity should be top of May’s agenda’

Labour’s shadow transport secretary, Andy McDonald, has told industry leaders “there is no excuse to delay” a decision on a new runway for London now a new government is in place. At parliament’s annual aviation

reception, he said: “The government has committed to opening a new runway by 2030. Given the current timetable, it is worrying whether that goal will be achieved. “When the transport secretary

THERESA MAY: Changes at top of most departments

John Hayes who was previously at the Home Office and has experience of the transport department. The other transport ministers are MPs Paul Maynard and Andrew Jones, and Lord Ahmad. The new Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, which combines the former Department for Business and Department for Energy and Climate Change, will be responsible for the new Package Travel Regulations, led by business secretary Greg Clark, who replaces Sajid Javid. May has placed Brexit supporters in charge of negotiations with EU leaders.

David Davis, who was excluded from David Cameron’s cabinet, heads a new Department for Exiting the EU, with responsibility for ensuring the UK remains part of a European aviation agreement. Former London Mayor Boris Johnson is the new foreign secretary, while a third Brexit campaigner, Liam Fox, is responsible for securing trade agreements as international trade secretary. Amber Rudd has taken over

at the Home Office and will be responsible for border control, while the Department for the Environment will be headed by Andrea Leadsom.

Swift decision promised on extra runway

New transport secretary Chris Grayling promised to “move rapidly” to reach a decision on a new runway in the southeast. Interviewed by BBC Radio at the weekend, he said:

“I’m clear that I want to move rapidly with a decision on airport capacity. “I’m not going to say whether I prefer Gatwick or Heathrow. There are two options at Heathrow

[and] I’m going to look at this very carefully.” Grayling said the decision would be taken “collectively by the government”. Earlier, new London Mayor Sadiq Khan appeared at Gatwick to back the airport’s plans for expansion over Heathrow. Khan said: “I urge the new prime minister to rule as swiftly as possible in favour of a second runway at Gatwick.”

ANDY MCDONALD: “There is great frustration in the sector”

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told us recently he had postponed the decision, we expected not to have a new prime minister until September. Now there is no excuse to delay. Airport capacity should be top of Theresa May’s agenda. “It is not the only issue. Indecision on airport expansion shouldn’t mean inaction on matters such as APD. There is great frustration in the sector. It’s more important than ever that Britain does not fall behind. Labour will work with you in holding the government to account.” British Air Transport Association

chairman Jane Middleton said: “Our members want the government to maintain a liberalised air market. One option would be to join the European Common Aviation Area and airlines are seeking urgent clarification on this.”

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