Last edited 10 Mar 2021

Industrial strategy

Industrial strategy white paper.jpg

An industrial strategy is a form of government intervention in the economy. The intention is that government will work with key businesses in a particular sector to help them improve their investment and become more productive by providing them with particular forms of help.

As an industrial policy, it can be seen as being an interventionist approach for a government to take, as it increases the rate of investment and ‘intervenes’ to try to improve productivity, i.e. how efficiently they produce output. As such, the UK had not favoured the concept of an ‘industrial strategy’ since the Labour government of the 1970s. However, when Theresa May took office as Conservative Prime Minister in 2016, the term was reintroduced.

In November 2017, the government published a white paper; Industrial Strategy: building a Britain fit for the future, which set out ‘…a long term plan to boost the productivity and earning power of people throughout the UK’. The aim of the strategy is to make the UK the world’s most innovative nation by 2030.

As one of the sector-specific strategies, the Construction Sector Deal, which was launched at the same time, is a strategic, long-term partnership with government, backed by private sector co-investment. The deal, which the government claim is worth £420 million, is intended to transform construction through the use of innovative technologies, increasing productivity and delivering new homes faster and with less disruption. Described as a ‘bytes and mortar revolution', it promotes the use of digital design and offsite manufacturing to transform construction and provide 1.5 million new homes by 2022. It also supports the Clean Growth Grand Challenge to halve the energy use of new builds by 2030.

In March 2021, the details of the Budget included the shelving of the industrial strategy in favour an ad hoc approach to supporting economic growth. The the council of business chiefs which oversaw the industrial strategy, was also scrapped.

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