Government urged to tackle regional imbalances

The independent Industrial Strategy Commission has urged the government to commit to a universal basic infrastructure and tackle Britain’s regional imbalances.

The commission’s final report said that while an industrial strategy could not do everything everywhere it should seek ‘to do something for everywhere’, including providing every citizen with decent transport, schools, hospitals and digital access.

The report also urges for the introduction of a new independent expert body – The Office for Strategic Economic Management – based on the model of the Office for Budgetary Responsibility. Additionally, a new powerful industrial strategy division should be established in the Treasury to ensure the new strategy is driven from the centre and embedded across government.

Dame Kate Barker, the chair of the commission, said: “The UK’s people, places and industries have great strengths and untapped potential, but we must accept the reality that the economy also contains many long-established weaknesses.

“Industrial strategy needs to be embraced as a long-term plan to manage the economy strategically and embedded throughout government. If we get the new strategy right it can build on these strengths, tackle our weaknesses and above all have a positive, long-lasting impact on people’s everyday lives. This implies that sometimes it will be right to choose equity and long-term-gains over short-term efficiency.”