Industrial Strategy successes must not be overlooked

Today The Guardian reports that some UK business organisations have joined with Opposition parties Labour and the Liberal Democrats in calling on the Government to boost its commitment to industrial strategy.

Criticisms include delays over creating an industrial strategy watchdog – the independent industrial strategy council – and setting out details of funds available to support priority sectors.

ADS agrees with business organisations across the sectors of UK industry that industrial strategy is vital to making sure our economy is in the best possible position to compete after Brexit. However, it is important not to overlook the progress made already.

As our Chief Executive Paul Everitt set out in Aviation Week earlier this year (paywall) the UK’s ground-breaking Aerospace Industrial Strategy is supporting the development of new technologies in the UK, and helping suppliers maximise their productivity.

With the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy developing new sector deals, we look forward to seeing new deals being agreed and delivered covering the aerospace, defence and space sectors.

Competition for new deals is strong, with 252 bids worth £12.5bn being submitted for the latest wave of the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund.

Not every bid can be successful, but we believe that our sectors can demonstrate real returns on investment, generating the high value employment the UK needs to maintain our international competitiveness.

This investment is what UK industry needs, with political commitment founded on long-term industrial strategy helping to unlock private sector investment and provide vital business confidence.

While embedding industrial strategy in the Government’s long-term plans is important to make sure it cannot fall victim to changing political tides and fashions, the creation of a new oversight body is of secondary importance to delivering investment in industries where the UK can be successful and generate growth in the decades ahead.