Industrial strategy targets tech sectors, infrastructure and 'place'


New ‘sector deals’ are at the heart of the prime minister’s ‘modern industrial strategy’, aimed at driving growth across the country through a more active role for government.

Theresa May's delayed green paper on the industrial strategy, published on Monday afternoon (23 January), will ‘build on Britain’s strengths and tackle its underlying weaknesses’, including upgrading infrastructure and moving to ultra low emission vehicles.

One early sector deal covers the transition to ultra low emission vehicles

Ms May said: ‘The modern industrial strategy will back Britain for the long-term: creating the conditions where successful businesses can emerge and grow, and backing them to invest in the long-term future of our country.

‘It will be underpinned by a new approach to government, not just stepping back but stepping up to a new, active role that backs business and ensures more people in all corners of the country share in the benefits of its success.’

The Government said an offer to businesses to strike new sector deals, ‘to address sector-specific challenges and opportunities’, was at the heart of the green paper.

It said that under the deals it would offer support such as ‘addressing regulatory barriers to innovation and growth, looking at how we can use trade and investment deals to increase exports, or supporting the creation of new institutions to provide leadership, support innovation or boost skills’.

Work on early sector deals includes: Sir John Bell on life sciences; Richard Parry-Jones on the transition to ultra low emission vehicles; Juergen Maier on industrial digitalisation; Lord Hutton on improving UK and competitiveness and skills in the nuclear industry; and Sir Peter Bazalgette on the creative industries.

The green paper also sets out plans to strengthen institutions in each part of the country, 'to support their specific strengths'.

Mike Cherry, national chairman for the Federation of Small Businesses,  said: ‘The moves towards a place-based strategy fit well with the UK small business community.’

The green paper also sets out ‘ten strategic pillars to underpin a new government approach’, including upgrading infrastructure.

Officials said: ‘We must upgrade our standards of performance on digital, energy, transport, water and flood defence infrastructure, and better align central government infrastructure investment with local growth priorities.'

The other nine strategic pillars are:

  • Investing in science, research and innovation
  • Developing skills
  • Supporting businesses to start and grow
  • Improving procurement
  • Encouraging trade and inward investment policy
  • Delivering affordable energy and clean growth
  • Cultivating world-leading sectors
  • Driving growth across the whole country
  • Creating the right institutions to bring together sectors and places

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