The rhetoric is fine but why is this industrial strategy so underwhelming?

29 November, 2017, 01:04 | Author: Roderick Gutierrez
  • Construction wins government backing for productivity boost

The Business Secretary has today announced the plan for UK's Industrial Strategy with a focus on harnessing technological opportunity.

Over the next three years, £725 million will be put towards the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund to help make the United Kingdom the most innovative nation in the world by 2030.

"It is clear that the United Kingdom can, through a collaborative partnership between government, industry, academia, charities and the NHS, deliver the next wave of innovation that will benefit patients, transform the health care system, and generate economic growth and improved productivity".

The investment was announced as part of the government's long-awaited Industrial Strategy created to prepare the economy for Brexit.

The first four sectors to benefit from this government plan are construction, artificial intelligence (AI), automotive and life sciences.

She said: "Nothing in the White Paper will help give businesses the certainty or incentives they need to invest in the face of the Government's catastrophic handling of Brexit".

Construction has landed one of the latest round of sector deals worth up to £250m to the industry. "By developing these world-leading systems in the United Kingdom, we can cut bills while creating high value jobs for the future", the strategy states. The investment is said to support a new research facility in Britain, creating 950 jobs.

However, it met with a lukewarm welcome from former Conservative deputy prime minister Michael Heseltine, who said on Sunday said that the best industrial strategy for the United Kingdom would be to "stop the Brexit initiative". "It will help create the conditions where successful businesses can emerge and grow, and support these businesses in seizing the big opportunities of our time, such as artificial intelligence and big data, whilst also making sure our young people have the skills to take on the high-paid, high-skilled jobs this creates".

Construction wins government backing for productivity boost
The rhetoric is fine but why is this industrial strategy so underwhelming?

Britain launched an industrial strategy on Monday as it prepares to leave the European Union and faces uncertain economic prospects.

The government had already previously committed £1 billion to the first wave of Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund projects, including investing £246m in next generation battery technology and £86 million in robotics hubs across the UK.

The first of these challenges is to "put the United Kingdom at the forefront of the artificial intelligence and data revolution".

Clean growth - we will maximise the advantages for United Kingdom industry from the global shift to clean growth.

He said: "Renewables are set to become the backbone of our modern energy system and the plummeting cost of wind power means onshore and offshore wind can help improve the competitiveness of United Kingdom industry". As well as AI, the strategy also makes a big play for future of mobility, with the pledge that the United Kingdom will become "a world leader in the way people, goods and services move".

Mr Clark said the new industrial strategy would strengthen infrastructure and the business environment in an effort to improve productivity.

Looking to future government publications, Hayler continued: "The forthcoming resources and waste strategy must set out a clear long-term plan for how this can be achieved, and must put in place the right policy levers to ensure we have the right infrastructure to deliver greater resource productivity for the benefit of the United Kingdom economy and environment".

Business secretary Greg Clark called the strategy "an unashamedly ambitious vision for the future of our country", arguing it will help address four "grand challenges" facing the UK. "This white paper is a great start".


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