The Commission, an independent, authoritative inquiry into the development of a new, long-term industrial strategy for the UK, has been established jointly by SPERI and Policy@Manchester and is chaired by Dame Kate Barker. Dr Craig Berry, Deputy Director of SPERI, and Professor Richard Jones, SPERI Associate Fellow and Professor of Physics, are members of the Commission team. Tom Hunt, Policy Research Officer at SPERI, manages the Commission’s work.
Laying the Foundations argues that UK has a compelling need to introduce a framework for strategic economic management – and needs an industrial strategy with a positive vision for our future. The report also outlines the serious and longstanding weaknesses and challenges affecting the UK economy – and the significant opportunities.
Dr Craig Berry, Deputy Director of SPERI:
“With the right foundations and a positive vision industrial strategy offers the potential to create huge wealth and greater prosperity and achieve outcomes that will benefit current and future generations. For this to be possible our first and most important conclusion is that the UK needs a new institutional framework that can deliver a new strategy. Fresh thinking is also needed about the importance of place, how public interventions should be assessed, the funding of research and development, how to increase investment throughout the economy and the role of the government in procurement.”
Dame Kate Barker, Chair of the Industrial Strategy Commission:
“Summer 2017 is a critical moment for the UK economy. The recent election has resulted in political fragility against a backdrop of growing economic concerns following the EU referendum. Now more than ever we need long-term strategic economic management to enable the UK to respond to current challenges and invest in our people, places and industries to achieve greater future prosperity. This is what industrial strategy is and how it should be thought about by the government as it prepares its new strategy. This will only be successful if it has the correct foundations and offers a positive vision for our country’s future. This report sets out how that can be achieved.”
Key points from Laying the Foundations:
- As it prepares a new strategy, the government must think about industrial strategy as strategic economic management. It involves the long-term co-ordination of all interactions between public and private sectors. It should become the organising framework for UK supply-side economic policy.
- Industrial strategy is not about the government handing out money to chosen businesses or sectors. The state’s role is to create the conditions for long-term investments in productive and innovative business activity, ensuring the economy is geared towards meeting key national challenges.
- The Commission has identified seven themes that the Government must ensure are the foundations of a new industrial strategy.
- The foundations are: a long-term set of institutions to determine, implement and monitor a new strategy; recognition of the importance of place and the need to increase growth and productivity everywhere; a joined-up approach to science, research and innovation; a strong competition regime; an increased investment rate; a comprehensive effort to improve skills, and effective use of the state’s purchasing and regulating power.
- The new strategy must be informed by a positive vision of a future destination for the UK. This can be achieved by reframing the challenges the country faces as strategic goals to be met. These goals are: decarbonisation of the energy economy; ensuring adequate investment in infrastructure; developing a sustainable health and social care system; unlocking long-term investment; supporting high-value industries in building export capacity, and enabling growth in all parts of the UK.