Government publishes Industrial Strategy - with implications for West Midlands' growth

Posted on 12 December 2017 (Permalink)

The Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy has published its ambitious policy paper, Industrial Strategy: building a Britain fit for the future, which has wide-ranging repercussions for the West Midlands' economy. 

The government’s Industrial Strategy sets out a long term plan to boost the productivity and earning power of people throughout the UK. It sets out how it is building a Britain fit for the future, helping businesses create better, higher-paying jobs in every part of the United Kingdom with investment in the skills, industries and infrastructure of the future.

The UK has significant economic strengths on which we can build, but we need to do more to increase our productivity and make the most of our untapped potential right across the country. By planning for a rapidly changing future, we can shape new markets and build the UK's competitive advantage as well as improve the quality of our everyday lives.

The paper sets out how the government will boost productivity and earning power across the country by focusing on the five foundations of productivity: Ideas, People, Infrastructure, Business Environment and Places. It also sets Grand Challenges to put the future of the UK at the forefront of the industries of the future, including AI and Data Economy, Future of Mobility, Clean Growth and Ageing Society. 

The report also commits to continue to build the Midlands Engine to help create prosperous communities throughout the region. The government recognises that a thriving Midlands Engine is essential to our national economic success and has provided the Midlands with £1.9 billion of local growth funding; the Industrial Strategy backs innovation, with an additional £2.3 billion announced. 

The paper states that the West Midlands Combined Authority will benefit from £250 million from new £1.7 billion Transforming Cities Fund, driving productivity by improving connectivity. Birmingham will be boosted as the city becomes home to a Tech Nation hub, while Midlands skills will be enhanced through greater investment in Further Education on T Levels. £15 million will also be invested in a new engineering university in Hereford supplying the engineering talent needed to power the Midlands Engine.