On Wednesday 18 April the Government held a general debate on the Industrial Strategy in the House of Commons. Business Secretary Greg Clark MP opened the debate by listing key sectors within the UK economy including the aerospace sector. Mr Clark said;
“In technologies such as automotive and aerospace, there is a high degree of interest and, indeed, optimism, about the future capabilities of companies right across those sectors and their supply chains. I mentioned marine engineering; aerospace and automotive are also examples of areas of British strength.”
The Business Secretary went on to say that the UK is well placed to lead and benefit from a Fourth Industrial Revolution thanks to our open, enterprising economy built on innovation, invention and competition.
Throughout the session, MPs debated many aspects of the strategy including sector deals, productivity and the wider economy. They largely agreed that it was important industrial strategy is supported across Parliament for long-term growth and success.
Mark Menzies, MP for Fylde, highlighted the work of the Aerospace Growth Partnership (AGP) since its creation in the 2013 Aerospace Industrial Strategy. Mr Menzies said:
“The Aerospace Growth Partnership, which has brought industry and Government together to tackle barriers to growth, boost exports and grow high-value jobs in the UK, published its aerospace industrial strategy in 2013. It has encouraged UK companies to co-operate more closely in addressing challenges that affect the sector as a whole, such as supply chain competitiveness, R&D and skills development. It contributed to a 30% growth in productivity during the period of the coalition Government, compared with just 3.3% across the rest of the economy. That demonstrates the huge benefits that a successful strategy can have for an industry.”
Labour’s Shadow Defence Minister Wayne David MP questioned the Business Secretary on defence and industrial strategy. Greg Clark pointed towards more work on the defence sector as the Industrial Strategy takes shape.
Mark Tami MP highlighted the importance of strong supply chains for large companies such as Airbus and how relationships need to be long-term ones to ensure stability in UK manufacturing.
Closing the debate Business Minister Richard Harrington MP commended the work of the AGP saying that it was “an intelligent way to channel money from business and from the Government together, which really summarises what the whole industrial strategy is about.”
A full transcript of the debate is available on Hansard here.