Theresa May unveils new Industrial Strategy

Prime Minister Theresa May will use her first regional Cabinet meeting to unveil a modern Industrial Strategy to build on Britain’s strengths and secure a future as a competitive, global nation.

The Modern Industrial Strategy green paper sets out a plan to improve living standards and economic growth by increasing productivity and driving growth across the whole country.

In a bid to ‘align central government infrastructure investment with local growth priorities’, May’s new strategy is expected to involve: investment in science and research; skills development; an upgrade to infrastructure; an improvement to government procurement; encouraging trade and inward investment; delivering affordable energy and cultivating world-leading sectors.

The green paper is also expected to set out technologies where Britain has strengths in research and development which could be supported through the government’s new Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, including: smart energy technologies; robotics and artificial intelligence; and 5G mobile network technology.

Asked about the relatively low amount of spending earmarked for the policy, the business secretary, Greg Clark, Business & Energy Secretary, said it was meant to be ‘a consultation on what should be our priorities for a long-term industrial strategy’.

The government is also announcing a cash boost of £556 million for the Northern Powerhouse to help create jobs, support businesses and encourage growth. New projects include: a conference centre and hotel at the Winter Gardens, Blackpool; £10 million for the Greater Manchester and Cheshire Life Sciences Fund; further flood resilience measures in Bradford, Calderdale, Craven, Kirklees and Leeds; and a project to pool Goole’s existing rail, sea, motorway and inland waterway links into one site at the new Goole Intermodal Terminal.

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.”

Greg Clark said: “This is an important step in building a modern, dynamic industrial strategy that will improve living standards and drive economic growth across the whole country. A modern British Industrial Strategy must - build on the UK’s strengths and extend excellence into the future; close the gap between the the UK’s most productive companies, industries, places and people and the rest; and ensure we are one of the most competitive places in the world to start and grow a business.”