By Paul Everitt, ADS Group Chief Executive

The government has launched its Green Paper on modern industrial strategy; a major statement of intent which sets out a more ambitious approach to securing growth and preparing for the inevitable pressures that will accompany Brexit.

The Green Paper identifies a number of key measures aimed at building on the UK’s competitive strengths in order to boost productivity and enable UK companies nationwide to grow. Based around ten pillars, top level aims of the Paper include:

  • Building on Britain’s strengths and extend excellence into the future, securing the UK’s future as a competitive, global nation
  • Closing the gap between the UK’s most productive companies, industries, places and people and the rest
  • Making the UK one of the most competitive places in the world to start or grow a business.

Aerospace is highlighted throughout the Paper as a strong example of an industry delivering local growth and national prosperity underpinned by a sector based industrial strategy: the Aerospace Growth Partnership (AGP). Since its launch in 2010, the AGP has brought industry and government together to identify barriers to growth and implement initiatives enabling companies of all size to thrive and compete in tough global markets.

The AGP provides a focused approach to long term technology funding; strengthens supply chains; attracts inward investment, and drives exports. A key AGP initiative – the Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI) – is highlighted by the Paper as an example of best practice. Since launching in 2013, the ATI has built a technology portfolio worth £1.5bn and in its response to the Green Paper, reinforced the need for government and industry to work together to identify and create next generation technologies for cleaner, greener aircraft.

Building on the need to back world-class research and innovation, the Paper sets out a proposal to create competitive funding streams to support clusters of research and innovation across the UK. As well as supporting local economies, this approach is intended to drive up the world-class research and innovation. This could work well for our sectors. There are a number of strong regional and national clusters, where a combination of universities, HVM catapults and innovative SMEs might benefit by bringing together a consortia to develop bids for funding.

The Green Paper also recognises the work of the Defence Growth Partnership (DGP) and the creation of the Defence Solutions Centre as an initiative for increasing exports by enabling industry to work collaboratively in order to respond to export opportunities. Team UK, the DGP’s initiative for presenting international customers with a single gateway into the very best of UK industry, is flagged as an example of a successful approach which could be used by other sectors.

The government’s consultation runs until 17 April and ADS will be working with Members during the next 12 weeks to shape our input. Post-Brexit, UK companies need to be well prepared to design, develop and manufacture for export in order to stay ahead of global competition. We have seen industrial strategies in our sectors deliver real benefits, but success requires time, effort and resource to be focused on a common set of objectives.

The Prime Minister’s support and advocacy for a modern industrial strategy for our country is an important statement of the Government’s intent. Remaining globally competitive and a base of exciting innovation will be our best response to the challenges and uncertainties of Brexit.

If you have ideas, comments or question, please do get in touch.