Our response to the Government’s consultation on its Industrial Strategy was submitted at the end of April. The Green Paper’s focus is on rebalancing the economy away from the south-east, improving productivity, driving global trade and exports and delivering an economy for all. Key points raised in our response included:
The emphasis on change led from the ground up is a new opportunity for the development of structures and strategies that have longevity.
Investing in science, research & innovation
Innovate UK funding has been an important driver for addressing the challenges of industry.
A successor programme to European Structural and Investment Funding should be developed which retains an explicit link with regional prosperity.
The analysis of the challenge for technical education fits very well with the experience in Greater Lincolnshire. A central issue from our perspective is improving communication between employers, schools and colleges and those that give advice to students.
Improving the careers advice available in the UK should be a key priority towards the goal of delivering an economy for all.
It remains important for the system to deliver high-level skills and specifically graduates that are work-ready.
Connectivity into our ports is a key priority supporting export and we welcome the fact that this was included in the recently published Midlands Engine strategy.
We have a shared agenda with utility providers for growth. Improving the dialogue between providers and local authorities could go a long way towards resolving many of the issues.
Given the rural and dispersed nature of our geography, investment in broadband and mobile infrastructure is a growing priority. We welcome the announcement in the Spring Budget of new investment in full-fibre broadband and 5G and would like to participate in the associated pilots.
Encouraging trade and inward investment
Export and inward investment is a clear priority within the Industrial Strategy. The Government should consider supporting further evidence gathering as to what works in this area.
Delivering affordable energy and clean growth
Energy costs for businesses greatly affect their ability to be competitive. Limiting energy costs, or at least making them manageable within a long-term strategy, will allow a greater certainty for investment and ultimately productivity.
Cultivating world-leading sectors
We are working with businesses from our Food Board and colleagues from across the Midlands Engine to develop a sector deal proposal for future food processing.
We understand that work continues towards publishing a White Paper in the Autumn, despite the outcome of the General Election. Work is also under way to consider the implementation of the Conservative Party manifesto pledge that each LEP will be tasked with co-ordinating its own local industrial strategy.