11 Sep 2012
The Business Secretary today set out his vision for the future of British Industry, looking at where the UK has a competitive advantage now, and where it can build on that in the next twenty years (read the full speech).
Speaking ahead of his Industrial Strategy speech at Imperial College in London, Vince Cable said:
“Government makes decisions every day that affect the British economy, but has for too long done this in an ad hoc way. Government needs to be more like business, by making strategic plans and sticking to them.
“Our first part of that plan is lifting the barrier that poor access to finance puts on growth. By helping firms to invest capital, businesses expand, and create jobs.
“But I am also setting out a clear and ambitious vision, a commitment far beyond the usual political timescale that will continue to bear fruit decades later.
“It will give our businesses certainty, allow them to make their own plans, and know that the full weight of Government is behind them. We will work in a strategic partnership with industry, focusing our support on specific sectors. This is our commitment to growth in action.”
Actions outlined in the Industrial Strategy speech include:
- New Government backed institution to help companies invest.
- Government and industry partnerships with strategies for specific sectors by 2013.
- £165 million boost for the skills that businesses need.
- New Innovation and Knowledge centre to boost commercialisation of research.
- Reforming government procurement to make sure that businesses have confidence to take long-term investment decisions.
The Industrial Strategy
A ‘business bank’
A new institution needs to be created to help companies invest in capital and drive their expansion. The scale and modus operandi of the institution are still under discussion, but it could operate through alternative providers such as the new challenger banks and non-bank lenders.
Not only would this boost their lending capacity, but would also corral existing provision such as co-investment and guarantees to support business expansion.
Government will create a series of collaborative but challenging sector strategies in advanced manufacturing, knowledge-intensive traded industries, and the enabling industries. This will include building strategic partnerships with industries and targeting support for them to help realise their substantial growth prospects.
A research paper published today (PDF, 1.1 Mb) details the wide range of factors considered when identifying sectors:
- Historic performance.
- Likely drivers of future growth.
- Potential barriers to growth.
World class skills
The speech outlined that our world class skills policy must be linked closely to the industrial strategy, in order that industry gets the skills they need to continue growing. This objective underpins the employer ownership pilot scheme where employers have been putting together radical plans to develop their own training programme.
It was announced today that 34 bids had been successful in the first round of the Employer Ownership pilot scheme. This secured £67 million of public funding and generated £98 million in private investment, meaning employers can access exactly the sort of skills they need.
Commercialisation of research
The strategy looks at accelerating the journey from pure academic research to a commercial product being brought to market to help boost ground-breaking technologies of the future.
The Government has already made £180 million available to support the commercialisation of innovations in the life sciences sector and building on this new approach, there will now be a new Innovation and Knowledge centre in Synthetic biology to explore the opportunities this sector presents.
There is a need to recognise Government’s role as a customer and develop a more intelligent partnership with its own supply chain. This can be achieved by reforming procurement to make sure that businesses have confidence to take long-term investment decisions.