Prime Minister Tony Blair has indicated that measures to combat binge drinking, vandalism and yobbish behaviour and to increase the visibility of the police in local communities are among the key priorities for the new parliament. Legislation paving the way for the introduction of national ID cards is also high on the government’s agenda.
The new measures will be implemented by Home Secretary Charles Clarke and Home Office minister Hazel Blears, who both retain their pre-election positions.
The old Department of Trade and Industry has been renamed the Department for Productivity, Energy and Industry (DPEI), headed by Secretary of State Alan Johnson. Within this department, Alun Michael has ministerial responsibility for enterprise and small businesses.
Within the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), parliamentary secretary James Purnell is the new minister responsible for alcohol licensing. His predecessor Richard Caborn remains as minister of state but with new responsibilities, including London’s 2012 Olympics bid.
The Association of Convenience Stores has called on the government to keep its election promises on not extending VAT to food, to increase police presence and to regulate only where necessary.
ACS chief executive David Rae said: “While we congratulate Labour for achieving its third straight term of government, we have been noting carefully their vote-seeking promises on VAT, regulatory burdens, crime and anti-social behaviour, and competition. We are now challenging the government to keep to these pledges.
“We also remember Tony Blair’s statement at the last Prime Minister’s Question Time where he indicated his intention to ensure the supermarket code of practice worked effectively in the next Parliamentary session.”