Treasury minister Stephen Timms handed Digital Britain brief

August 6, 2009 at 5:02 pm Leave a comment

The Financial Secretary to the Treasury has been given a new role at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills as Minister for Digital Britain.

Downing St announed today that the Queen had approved Stephen Timms’ appointment to the department, which boasts 11 ministers.

Mr Timms, a former Cabinet minister, has served continuously in government since 1998 and has been Financial Secretary twice before, from 1999 to 2001 and 2004 to 2005.

In a statement Downing St said:

“In addition to his existing responsibilities as Financial Secretary and following the departure of Lord Carter of Barnes, the Digital Britain report will be taken forward by the Rt Hon Stephen Timms MP, overseen by the Secretaries of State for Business, Innovation & Skills and Culture, Media and Sport, and with support from Siôn Simon MP who will lead on DCMS-related aspects of the report in DCMS.”

Mr Timms worked in the telecommunications sector for nearly 15 years.

The Digital Britain report will be overseen by the Business Secretary Lord Mandelson and Culture Secretary Ben Bradshaw.

In June Mr Bradshaw told MPs that the proposals in the new report Digital Britain will transform the internet in the UK.

Among the propsals are “a small levy” of 50p a month on all fixed phone lines to establish an independent national fund, “which will be used to ensure maximum next generation broadband coverage.”

Entrepreneur Martha Lane Fox was named as the government’s new digital inclusion champion.

The report reiterated the government’s intention to upgrade all national radio stations from analogue to digital by 2015, with DAB “firmly placed” as the primary platform.

It was also announced that licence fee money would be used to prop up local news services.

Today Mr Timms said:

“Building a 21st century knowledge economy is at the heart of Government’s vision.

“It’s vital for jobs and growth that Britain is able to maximise the benefits of the digital revolution.

“I look forward to driving this project forward in my joint role working in the Treasury and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.

“At the top of my in-tray will be plans to ensure faster broadband access for homes and businesses and combating digital piracy – as we move towards publication of the Digital Economy Bill.”

Downing St also announced that Lord Brett has been appointed Under-Secretary of State at the Home Office to cover the maternity leave of Meg Hillier.

Mr Timms entered Parliament in 1994 as MP for Newham North East, and has been MP for East Ham since 1997.

He has a prolific record of appointments in the government.

Previous Ministerial positions include; Minister of State for Employment and Welfare Reform at the Department for Work and Pensions; Minister for Competitiveness at the Department for Business, Enterprise & Regulatory Reform;

Minister for Pensions Reform in the Department for Work and Pensions; Minister for e-Commerce and Competitiveness and Minister of State for Energy, e-Commerce and Postal Services in the Department for Trade and Industry;

Minister of State for School Standards; and Minister of State and Parliamentary Under Secretary in the then Department for Social Security, as well as the Cabinet role of Chief Secretary to the Treasury, from 2006 to 2007.

photo: Downing St website


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