As Brexit moves closer to becoming a reality, Arthur takes a look at the U.K.’s new ‘Industrial Strategy’.
An industrial strategy is the term given to how a country plans to grow its economy in the future. Whilst a budget will say how much will be spent on what, where and when, an industrial strategy will outline areas that need to be ‘focused on’ or ‘developed’ and suggests targets for what they would like to achieve in a particular time frame. The strategy is meant to give guidance and help businesses plan for the future, assuring companies that the government is aware of what they want. Theresa May actually brought the Department for Industrial Strategy back from the grave when she was elected as Prime Minister in 2016 and now, they have released their ‘post-Brexit’ industrial strategy.
The Government has identified five key areas of focus for their new strategy:
- ideas: the world’s most innovative economy
- people: good jobs and greater earning power for all
- infrastructure: a major upgrade to the UK’s infrastructure
- business environment: the best place to start and grow a business
- places: prosperous communities across the UK
Whilst these topics sound like the sort of thing a business student might say, these are the broad strokes out a 255 page document outlining plans to grow the U.K.’s economy.
The document also identified four ‘grand challenges’ that the U.K. will have to face moving forward:
- Artificial intelligence
- Clean growth
- Ageing society
- Future of mobility
The industrial strategy has been met with support from business leaders, with Stephen Martin, the director general of the Institute of Directors, said the document “identifies the key challenges that the UK will need to overcome if businesses are to remain competitive”. However, the OBR has once again downgraded its productivity growth forecast and the Chancellor failed to invest the 1% of GDP into the public sector that the IPPR was calling for.
The strategy itself seems to be good news for technology companies, with a new deal being promised for the artificial intelligence. Other areas that will be concentrated on include automotive, construction and life sciences. Added impetus on the construction industry will be a welcome site for a country that is seeing the effect that a lack of investment in public housing can have.
Moving forward, it is nice to have an Industrial Strategy. But, the U.K. will have to roll with the punches as Brexit negotiations continue to frag on.