Skills for Business

Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform

The Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (formerly the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry before the June 28, 2007 reshuffle) is a cabinet position in the United Kingdom government. Its secondary title is the President of the Board of Trade. The Secretary of State is responsible for the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (formerly the Department of Trade and Industry). The current holder of the post is Peter Mandelson, since 3 October, 2008.

The idea of a Board of Trade was first translated into action by Oliver Cromwell in 1655 when he appointed his son Richard Cromwell to head a body of Lords of the Privy Council, Judges and merchants to consider measures to promote trade. Charles II established a Council of Trade on November 7, 1660 followed by a Council of Foreign Plantations on December 1 that year. The two were united on September 16, 1672 as the Board of Trade and Plantations.

After the Board was re-established in 1696, there were 15 (and later 16) members of the Board - 7 (later 8) Great officers of state, and 8 unofficial members, who did the majority of the work. The senior unofficial member of the board was the President of the Board, commonly known as the First Lord of Trade. The board was abolished on July 11, 1782, but a Committee of the Privy Council was established on March 5, 1784 for the same purposes. On August 23, 1786 a new Committee was set up, more strongly focused on commercial functions than the previous boards of trade. At first the President of the Board of Trade only occasionally sat in the Cabinet, but from the early 19th century it was usually a cabinet level position.

During the government of Sir Alec Douglas-Home, the then President of the Board of Trade Edward Heath was given in addition the job of Secretary of State for Industry, Trade and Regional Development. This title was not continued under Harold Wilson, but when Heath became Prime Minister in 1970 he decided to merge the Board of Trade and the Ministry of Technology to create the Department of Trade and Industry. The head of this department became known as Secretary of State for Trade and Industry and President of the Board of Trade.

When Harold Wilson re-entered office in March 1974, the office was split into the Department of Trade, the Department of Industry and the Department of Prices and Consumer Protection. The title President of the Board of Trade became the secondary title of the Secretary of State for Trade. In 1979 the Department of Prices and Consumer Protection was abolished by the incoming Conservative government and its responsibilities were reintegrated into the Department of Trade. In 1983 the offices of trade and industry were remerged and the title of Secretary of State for Trade and Industry was recreated. When Michael Heseltine held this office, he preferred to be known by the older title of President of the Board of Trade, and this practice was also followed by Ian Lang and Margaret Beckett. Heseltine's decision to reuse the old title caused some comment and it was discovered that the Board of Trade had not in fact met since the mid-nineteenth century.

First Lord of Trade (1672–1782)

Date began Date ended Incumbent Subsequent post
16 September 1672 1676 Anthony Ashley-Cooper, 1st Earl of Shaftesbury Lord Chancellor
16 December 1695 9 June 1699 John Egerton, 3rd Earl of Bridgewater First Lord of the Admiralty
9 June 1699 8 January 1702 Thomas Grey, 2nd Earl of Stamford None
8 January 1702 1705 Thomas Thynne, 1st Viscount Weymouth None
1705 12 June 1711 Thomas Grey, 2nd Earl of Stamford None
12 June 1711 15 September 1713 Charles Finch, 4th Earl of Winchilsea None
15 September 1713 September 1714 Francis North, 2nd Baron Guilford None
September 1714 12 May 1715 William Berkeley, 4th Baron Berkeley None
12 May 1715 31 January 1718 Henry Howard, 6th Earl of Suffolk None
31 January 1718 11 May 1719 Robert Darcy, 3rd Earl of Holderness None
11 May 1719 May 1735 Thomas Fane, 6th Earl of Westmorland None
May 1735 June 1737 Benjamin Mildmay, 1st Earl Fitzwalter None
June 1737 1 November 1748 John Monson, 1st Baron Monson None
1 November 1748 21 March 1761 George Montague-Dunk, 2nd Earl of Halifax First Lord of the Admiralty (1762–)
21 March 1761 1 March 1763 Samuel Sandys, 1st Baron Sandys None
1 March 1763 20 April 1763 The Rt. Hon. Charles Townshend MP Paymaster of the Forces (1765–)
20 April 1763 9 September 1763 William Petty, 2nd Earl of Shelburne Secretary of State for the Southern Department (1766–)
9 September 1763 20 July 1765 Wills Hill, 1st Earl of Hillsborough First Lord of Trade (1766–)
20 July 1765 16 August 1766 William Legge, 2nd Earl of Dartmouth Secretary of State for the Colonies (1772–)
16 August 1766 December 1766 Wills Hill, 1st Earl of Hillsborough First Lord of Trade (1768–)
19 January 1767 20 January 1768 Robert Nugent, 1st Viscount Clare Vice-Treasurer of Ireland
20 January 1768 31 August 1772 Wills Hill, 1st Earl of Hillsborough Secretary of State for the Southern Department (1779–)
31 August 1772 10 November 1775 William Legge, 2nd Earl of Dartmouth Lord Privy Seal
10 November 1775 6 November 1779 Lord George Sackville-Germain Secretary of State for the Colonies (1776–1782)
6 November 1779 9 December 1780 Frederick Howard, 5th Earl of Carlisle Lord Lieutenant of Ireland
9 December 1780 11 July 1782 Thomas Robinson, 2nd Baron Grantham Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs

President of the Committee on Trade and Foreign Plantations (1784–1786)

Date began Date ended Incumbent Subsequent post
5 March 1784 23 August 1786 Thomas Townshend, 1st Baron Sydney Secretary of State for the Home Department (1783–1789)

President of the Board of Trade (1786–1963)

Date began Date ended Incumbent Subsequent post
23 August 1786 7 June 1804 The Rt. Hon. Earl of Liverpool None
7 June 1804 5 February 1806 The Rt. Hon. Duke of Montrose Master of the Horse (1807–)
5 February 1806 31 March 1807 The Rt. Hon. Lord Auckland None
31 March 1807 29 September 1812 The Rt. Hon. Earl Bathurst Secretary of State for War and the Colonies
29 September 1812 24 January 1818 The Rt. Hon. Earl of Clancarty None
24 January 1818 21 February 1823 The Rt. Hon. Frederick Robinson MP Chancellor of the Exchequer
21 February 1823 4 September 1827 The Rt. Hon. William Huskisson MP Secretary of State for War and the Colonies and Leader of the House of Commons
4 September 1827 11 June 1828 The Rt. Hon. Charles Grant MP President of the Board of Control (1830–)

Date began Date ended Incumbent Subsequent post
November 7, 1900 March 12, 1905 The Rt. Hon. Gerald Balfour MP President of the Local Government Board
March 12, 1905 December 4, 1905 The Rt. Hon. Marquess of Salisbury Lord President of the Council (1922–)
December 10, 1905 April 12, 1908 The Rt. Hon. David Lloyd George MP Chancellor of the Exchequer
April 12, 1908 February 14, 1910 The Rt. Hon. Winston Churchill MP Home Secretary
February 14, 1910 February 11, 1943 The Rt. Hon. Sydney Buxton MP Governor-General of South Africa
February 11, 1914 August 5, 1914 The Rt. Hon. John Burns MP None
August 5, 1914 December 5, 1916 The Rt. Hon. Walter Runciman MP President of the Board of Trade (1931–)
December 10, 1916 May 26, 1919 The Rt. Hon. Sir Albert Henry Stanley MP None
May 26, 1919 March 19, 1920 The Rt. Hon. Sir Auckland Geddes MP British Ambassador to the United States
March 19, 1920 April 1, 1921 The Rt. Hon. Sir Robert Horne MP Chancellor of the Exchequer
April 1, 1921 October 19, 1922 The Rt. Hon. Stanley Baldwin MP Chancellor of the Exchequer
October 24, 1922 January 22, 1924 The Rt. Hon. Sir Philip Lloyd-Greame MP President of the Board of Trade (November 1924–)
January 22, 1924 November 3, 1924 The Rt. Hon. Sidney Webb MP Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs (1929–)
November 6, 1924 June 4, 1929 The Rt. Hon. Sir Philip Cunliffe-Lister MP President of the Board of Trade (1931–)
June 7, 1929 August 24, 1931 The Rt. Hon. William Graham MP None
August 25, 1931 November 5, 1931 The Rt. Hon. Sir Philip Cunliffe-Lister MP Secretary of State for the Colonies
November 5, 1931 May 28, 1937 The Rt. Hon. Walter Runciman MP Lord President of the Council (1938–)
May 28, 1937 January 5, 1940 The Rt. Hon. Oliver Stanley MP President of the Board of Education
January 5, 1940 October 3, 1940 The Rt. Hon. Sir Andrew Duncan MP Minister of Supply
October 3, 1940 June 29, 1941 The Rt. Hon. Oliver Lyttelton MP Minister of State in the Middle East
June 29, 1941 February 4, 1942 The Rt. Hon. Sir Andrew Duncan MP Minister of Supply
February 4, 1942 February 22, 1942 The Rt. Hon. John Llewellin MP Minister of Aircraft Production
February 22, 1942 May 23, 1945 The Rt. Hon. Hugh Dalton MP Chancellor of the Exchequer (July 1945–)
May 25, 1945 July 26, 1945 The Rt. Hon. Oliver Lyttelton MP
(also Minister of Production)
Secretary of State for the Colonies (1951–)
July 27, 1945 September 29, 1947 The Rt. Hon. Sir Stafford Cripps MP Chancellor of the Exchequer
September 29, 1947 April 23, 1951 The Rt. Hon. Harold Wilson MP Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (1964–)
April 24, 1951 October 26, 1951 The Rt. Hon. Sir Hartley Shawcross MP None
30 October 1951 13 January 1957 The Rt. Hon. Peter Thorneycroft MP Chancellor of the Exchequer
13 January 1957 14 October 1959 The Rt. Hon. Sir David Eccles KCVO MP Minister of Education
14 October 1959 9 October 1961 The Rt. Hon. Reginauld Maudling MP Secretary of State for the Colonies
9 October 1961 20 October 1963 The Rt. Hon. Fred Erroll MP Minister of Power

Secretary of State for Industry, Trade and Regional Development, and President of the Board of Trade (1963–1964)

Date began Date ended Incumbent Subsequent post
20 October 1963 16 October 1964 The Rt. Hon. Edward Heath MP Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (1970–)

President of the Board of Trade (1964–1970)

Date began Date ended Incumbent Subsequent post
18 October 1964 29 August 1967 The Rt. Hon. Douglas Jay MP None
29 August 1967 6 October 1969 The Rt. Hon. Anthony Crosland MP Secretary of State for the Environment
6 October 1969 19 June 1970 The Rt. Hon. Roy Mason MP Secretary of State for Defence (1974–)
20 June 1970 15 October 1970 The Rt. Hon. Michael Noble MP Minister for Trade

Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, and President of the Board of Trade (1970–1974)

Date began Date ended Incumbent Subsequent post
15 October 1970 5 November 1972 The Rt. Hon. John Davies MP Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
5 November 1972 4 March 1974 The Rt. Hon. Peter Walker MP Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food

Secretary of State for Industry (1974–1983)

Date began Date ended Incumbent Subsequent post
10 May 1974 4 August 1975 The Rt. Hon. Tony Benn MP Secretary of State for Energy
4 August 1975 4 May 1979 The Rt. Hon. Eric Varley MP None
4 May 1979 14 September 1981 The Rt. Hon. Sir Keith Joseph, Bt. MP Secretary of State for Education and Science
14 September 1981 12 June 1983 The Rt. Hon. Patrick Jenkin MP Secretary of State for the Environment

Secretary of State for Trade (1974–1983)

Date began Date ended Incumbent Subsequent post
5 March 1974 8 April 1976 The Rt. Hon. Peter Shore MP Secretary of State for the Environment
8 April 1976 11 November 1978 The Rt. Hon. Edmund Dell MP None
11 November 1978 4 May 1979 The Rt. Hon. John Smith MP None
5 May 1979 5 January 1981 The Rt. Hon. John Nott MP Secretary of State for Defence
5 January 1981 6 April 1982 The Rt. Hon. John Biffen MP Lord President of the Council
6 April 1982 12 June 1983 The Rt. Hon. The Lord Cockfield Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster

Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, and President of the Board of Trade (1983–2007)

Date began Date ended Incumbent Subsequent post
12 June 1983 11 October 1983 The Rt. Hon. Cecil Parkinson MP Secretary of State for Energy (1987–)
16 October 1983 2 September 1985 The Rt. Hon. Norman Tebbit MP Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
2 September 1985 22 January 1986 The Rt. Hon. Leon Brittan QC MP None (Resigned)
24 January 1986 13 June 1987 The Rt. Hon. Paul Channon MP Secretary of State for Transport
13 June 1987 24 July 1989 The Rt. Hon. The Lord Young of Graffham None
24 July 1989 13 July 1990 The Rt. Hon. Nicholas Ridley MP None (Resigned)
14 July 1990 10 April 1992 The Rt. Hon. Peter Lilley MP Secretary of State for Social Security
10 April 1992 5 July 1995 The Rt. Hon. Michael Heseltine MP Deputy Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
First Secretary of State
5 July 1995 2 May 1997 The Rt. Hon. Ian Lang MP None
2 May 1997 27 July 1998 The Rt. Hon. Margaret Beckett MP Leader of the House of Commons
Lord President of the Council
27 July 1998 23 December 1998 The Rt. Hon. Peter Mandelson MP Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (1999–)
23 December 1998 8 June 2001 The Rt. Hon. Stephen Byers MP Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions
8 June 2001 6 May 2005 The Rt. Hon. Patricia Hewitt MP Secretary of State for Health
6 May 2005 5 May 2006 The Rt. Hon. Alan Johnson MP†† Secretary of State for Education and Skills
5 May 2006 27 June 2007 The Rt. Hon. Alistair Darling MP Chancellor of the Exchequer

† - Primarily referred to as President of the Board of Trade, and not as Secretary of State for Trade and Industry.

†† - Alan Johnson was initially announced on May 6, 2005, after the General Election, as being "Secretary of State for Productivity, Energy and Industry and President of the Board of Trade", but after just a week, on May 13, it was declared that the title's and department's name would not be renamed, after widespread derision of the new name.

Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform, President of the Board of Trade (since 2007)

Date began Date ended Incumbent Subsequent post
28 June 2007 03 October 2008 The Rt. Hon. John Hutton MP Secretary of State for Defence
03 October 2008 Present The Rt. Hon. Peter Mandelson Incumbent

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