The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) was formed on 19 October 1970 upon the merger of the Board of Trade and the Ministry of Technology. It also took over from the Department of Employment and Productivity responsibility for policy on monopolies, mergers and restrictive trade practices.
The new Department inherited and substantially amalgamated the regional organisations of the Ministry of Technology and the Board of Trade. It took over all the functions of the Ministry of Technology apart from those relating to aerospace research, development and procurement, which initially passed to a new Ministry of Aviation Supply.
On 1 January 1971, four research laboratories (the Fire Research Station; the Forest Products Research Laboratory; the Hydraulics Research Station; and the Water Pollution Research Laboratory), together with the administration of grants to four recently created research associations, passed to the Department of the Environment.
On 1 January 1974, mainly as a result of severe difficulties with oil supplies, the fuel and power functions of the DTI, with the exception of iron and steel, were transferred to a new Department of Energy.
In March 1974 the DTI was wound-up, with its functions and organisation redistributed between three Departments:
- a newly established Department of Prices and Consumer Protection which took over the DTI's organisation and responsibility in these fields;
- the Department of Trade, to which all trade functions of the DTI were transferred; and
- the Department of Industry in which the residue of the industrial components of the DTI were reconstituted.
The Department of Industry continued to provide establishment and other common services for the two sister departments through its Accountancy, Establishment (which included library and translation services), Economics and Statistics, Information and Regional Organisation divisions. The new Department took over all the divisions concerned with regional development, industrial research and planning, research institutes and associations, engineering automation, manufacturing, iron and steel, aerospace and shipbuilding, and the Solicitor's Department. The Establishment Division continued to be responsible for the journal Trade and Industry, which was re-named British Business in 1980. The Secretary of State for Industry had responsibility for various bodies including the British Steel Corporation, the National Enterprise Board, the National Research Development Corporation, Cable and Wireless Ltd., the Post Office and Post Office Users National Council, and the Co-operative Development Agency.
In 1983 the Department of Industry was amalgamated with the Department of Trade to form a second Department of Trade and Industry.