CBI director-general Carolyn Fairbairn said: “A modern Industrial strategy will be a landmark opportunity to build a successful, modern economy as the foundation for a prosperous, fairer and more inclusive society.
“It must help fix the country’s productivity problems and remove the regional inequalities that have dogged our country for generations, having a positive impact on living standards, wages and the future opportunities of many people.”
‘Fix the country’s productivity problems’
The CBI welcomed the government’s intention to involve all sectors in the strategy, added Fairbairn, whose organisation represents 190,000 businesses, which together employed nearly 7M.
The prime minister was expected to reveal the plans after her first regional cabinet meeting, to be held in the north-west of England.
The strategy was thought to be founded on a 10-point plan. Key elements involved developing skills, support for business growth and developing world-leading sectors. See the full 10-point plan in the box below.
To be released as a policy document – known as a Green Paper – the strategy is understood to include plans to promote STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) skills, digital skills and numeracy.
Engineering giant Siemens has been asked by the government to lead a review of the opportunities arising from digitalisation. Siemens UK ceo Juergen Maier said: “The launch of the industrial strategy Green Paper marks the start of an important journey for British industry.
Siemens UK ceo Juergen Maier
“We need a robust industrial strategy to prepare our economy for the challenges and opportunities of the digital revolution in manufacturing and other sectors.”
The industrial digitalisation review will identify the impacts of digitalisation across UK industrial sectors and how government working in partnership with industry can maximise the opportunities from driving digitalisation.
“We aim to make proposals later this year for an industrial digitalisation sector deal,” said Maier. “I am delighted to lead this important piece of work on behalf of industry which aims to benefit as many people and businesses across the UK as possible.”
Law firm Eversheds said the strategy was “a powerful message to all companies who are creating next generation technologies in this country, and to those who are seeking to adopt new technology into their business processes”.
In the manufacturing sector, technologies such as smart and additive manufacturing are set to have a radical impact in terms of the way in which companies design and manufacture products, as well as in the ways in which they interact with their customers and supply chain partners, said Parmjit Singh, head of diversified industrials at Eversheds.
“All of this, in turn, is leading to commercial opportunities for companies to join forces which have not historically existed.”
Meanwhile, last week the prime minister revealed the UK would quit the Single Market of 500M consumers as part of the Brexit process.
Industrial strategy 10-point plan
- Investing in science, research and innovation
- Developing skills
- Upgrading infrastructure
- Supporting business to start and grow
- Improving government procurement
- Encouraging trade and inward investment
- Delivering affordable energy and clean growth
- Cultivating world-leading sectors
- Driving growth across the whole country
- Creating the right institutions to bring together sectors and places