Labour got off to a mixed start. It immediately announced creation of the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions super- ministry, a move widely welcomed as producing a useful synergy. The decision to give the much-admired Nick Raynsford only junior ministerial status as the industry's representative was less well received, despite the promise of a 'hotline' to ministry boss John Prescott.
The Deputy Prime Minister's attack on the industry's training and cost effectiveness record later in the summer soon had some suggesting that Prescott held a pretty unflattering view of the industry. The view that Government was moving away from the (perhaps too) cosy relationship which had existed under the Conservatives was strengthened by the appointment of arch industry-critic BAA chief executive Sir John Egan to head an efficiency task force.
Raynsford, on the other hand, has boosted his reputation as the fairest and most well-informed construction minister for years. This is despite forcing the Construction Act through over Christmas, when many thought it still needed more work.