Government reveals vision for Scotland’s new Industrial Strategy

The UK Government is inviting contributions from businesses, local groups and workers from across Scotland to help shape its vision for a modern Industrial Strategy 

The UK Government will today (Monday, 23 January) publish its vision for a modern Industrial Strategy which builds on the UK’s strengths, closes the productivity and wealth gap between different regions and drives growth more evenly across the country.
In its Green Paper, Building our Industrial Strategy, the UK Government defines three fundamental challenges Britain must face up to now and in the future:
–        Build on the UK’s strengths and extend excellence into the future;
–        Close the gap between Britain’s most productive companies, industries, places and people and the rest;
–        Make Britain one of the most competitive places in the world to start or grow a business.
To meet each of the three challenges set out, the Strategy outlines 10 key pillars of focus to be discussed as part of a 12 week consultation period, inviting contributions from industries, businesses, local groups and workers across Scotland.
The pillars cover a broad range of themes including ‘skills’, ‘infrastructure’, ‘affordable energy and clean growth’, with the Green Paper proposing a series of announcements for each. The Strategy will propose plans for ‘driving growth across the country’, with a framework to build on local strengths and reduce regional disparities in opportunities and prosperity.
Energy and Industry Minister Jesse Norman said: “Scotland makes a huge contribution to the UK’s economy, cementing it as the fifth largest worldwide. The Government’s new Industrial Strategy is designed to build on Scotland’s economic strengths within the UK as a whole, creating more opportunities, prosperity and jobs.
“The birthplace of Adam Smith and David Hume, Scotland has huge economic strengths, including in financial services, life sciences, higher education and research, quantum technologies and advanced manufacturing. We believe that a really effective Industrial Strategy needs to build on those capabilities, and help create new ones.
“Our new Industrial Strategy provides an opportunity for the UK to make fresh choices about how its economy develops. We invite people and businesses across Scotland to have their say in shaping it, so that growth and well-being can be more widely spread in an economy that works for all.”
UK Government Minister for Scotland Andrew Dunlop said: “The UK Government’s Industrial Strategy is an ambitious plan to deliver a high productivity, competitive economy in Scotland. We want to build on the success of the UK City Deals to help growth reach right across Scotland.
“With our world-class exporters and internationally-respected research hubs, Scotland is ready to realise its potential. By boosting our digital connectivity, exporting the expertise of our oil and gas industry, and investing in innovative renewable technologies, we can create an economy fit for the future.
“I look forward to working alongside the Scottish Government to develop our Industrial Strategy, and encourage Scottish businesses to participate in the consultation.”
Today’s Green Paper launch follows the announcement of significant initial actions for the Industrial Strategy, including a substantial increase in research and development funding, unveiled by the Chancellor Philip Hammond at last year’s Autumn Statement.
With a clear ambition of creating an economy that works for everyone, the Green Paper contains a number of proposed announcements set to benefit Scotland, including:
o   The Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund and foundation of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), creating new opportunities for Scotland’s world class universities and research institutions to bid for UK Government funding.
o   Opportunities for entire sectors to propose new ways of working with different levels of Government to create the conditions for success, building on the success of City Deals in Scotland
o   Looking beyond current commitments to support the development of the offshore wind industry in Scotland as well as supporting research into cost effective new renewable technologies
The document will seek views from people in Scotland on how the UK Government can refine its vision to help the UK economy meet future challenges and opportunities. The 10 pillars which the Green Paper seeks feedback on are:
  • Investing in science, research and innovation – we must become a more innovative economy and do more to commercialise our world-leading science base to drive growth across the UK.
  • Developing skills – we must help people and businesses to thrive by: ensuring everyone has the basic skills needed in a modern economy; building a new system of technical education to benefit the half of young people who do not go to university; boosting STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) skills, digital skills and numeracy; and raising skill levels in lagging areas.
  • Upgrading infrastructure – we must upgrade our standards of performance on digital, energy, transport, water and flood defence infrastructure, and better align central government infrastructure investment with local growth priorities.
  • Supporting businesses to start and grow –we must ensure that businesses across the UK can access the finance and management skills they need to grow; and we must create the right conditions for companies to invest for the long term.
  • Improving procurement – we must use strategic UK government procurement to drive innovation and enable the development of UK supply chains.
  • Encouraging trade and inward investment – UK government policy can help boost productivity and growth across our economy, including by increasing competition and helping to bring new ways of doing things to the UK.
  • Delivering affordable energy and clean growth –we need to keep costs down for businesses, and secure the economic benefits of the transition to a low carbon economy.
  • Cultivating world-leading sectors –we must build on our areas of competitive advantage, and help new sectors to flourish, in many cases challenging existing institutions and incumbents.
  • Driving growth across the whole country – we will create a framework to build on the particular strengths of different places and address factors that hold places back – whether it is investing in key infrastructure projects to encourage growth, increasing skill levels, or backing local innovation strengths.
  • Creating the right institutions to bring together sectors and places – we will consider the best structures to support people, industries and places. In some places and sectors there may be missing institutions which we could create, or existing ones we could strengthen, be they local civic or educational institutions, trade associations or financial networks.
The UK Government is inviting industries, businesses and local groups to visit the GOV.UK website and respond to a series of questions on each of these pillars and give their views on the priorities for a modern Industrial Strategy.
Following the consultation period of 12 weeks, the Government will consider responses before publishing a White Paper on the Industrial Strategy later in the year.
The launch of the paper follows the publication of a Corporate Governance Green Paper at the end of November in which the Government outlined plans to help make Britain one of the best places to work, giving a greater voice to employees and consumers in the boardroom, and raising the bar for governance standards in the largest privately held companies.
Today’s announcement follows the funding announcements at Autumn Statement for the £23 billion National Productivity Fund, and the £2 billion Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund.
“Industrial Strategy must tackle productivity and the skills gap”
Craig Vickery, ACCA Scotland
In response to the Government’s new Industrial Strategy, which was launched by Prime Minister Teresa May today, Craig Vickery, head of ACCA Scotland (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) UK said: “Government intervention to address faltering productivity across the UK is a positive step towards meeting many of the underlying structural challenges facing the economy including regional inequality and low wage growth.
“To succeed Government must prioritise growth driving industries including our world-leading business and professional services sector which accounts for an estimated 14% of GDP.  The accounting profession is an important part of this sector as well as a great British export.
“The need to address the skills gap is more critical than ever. We welcome the focus on STEM industries to up-skill the UK workforce to compete in an increasingly global market.
“Measures to advance research and development in areas such as digitisation and AI in collaboration with our world leading higher education sector will also help provide the foundations for knowledge intensive industries where the UK continues to exceed its competitors.
“Cutting needless red tape will be welcomed by many.  The profession stands ready to work with Government and business to identify where the economic benefits will accrue here.”

 

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