Mandarins are used to sudden changes of direction when the government changes. But even so, it must have been disconcerting for officials at the business department to see their former boss, Lord Mandelson, walk through the glass doors of their offices today to try and pick holes in policies they are currently defending.
Lord Mandelson and Pat McFadden, the current shadow business secretary, walked into the department to review the documents behind their decision to lend £80m to Sheffield Forgemasters, a decision the coalition has now controversially rescinded. Read more
Government officials told the FT over the weekend that today’s bank lending paper would be “very green” – essentially laying out a set of problems rather than solutions. And so it has proved.
The first 12 out of 39 pages deal with “context”: basically facts we already knew. It is not until page 13 that we get any concrete policy suggestions. And even then, they are couched in very cautious terms. Read more
News just in from the culture department where many of its 55 public bodies are to be abolished, merged or streamlined.
The most eye-catching is the abolition of the UK Film Council, which invests government grants and Lottery money in film development. (Although Jeremy Hunt, culture secretary, insists that ‘government and Lottery support for film will continue’).
The body has helped to fund 900 films since it was set up in 2000, although it’s not exactly clear from its website which ones they were. (The BBC tells us that they include Bend it Like Beckham and the Last King of Scotland – pictured).
Also to be abolished is the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council. Ditto the Advisory Council on Libraries and the Legal Deposit Advisory Panel. And the Advisory Committee on Historic Wreck Sites. Read more
Not everyone at Unite is endorsing Ed Miliband. Jerry Hicks, maverick candidate for the union leadership – the battle takes place this autumn – says he can’t possibly endorse a former New Labour minister.
Instead, in the absence of John McDonnell on the candidate list, he tells me he’s backing Diane Abbott, for her leftwing views and anti-war stance; albeit with reservations. It’s worth taking Hicks seriously given that he came second in a challenge to Derek Simpson (for the leadership of the Amicus wing of Unite) last year, with 25 per cent of the votes. Read more