1.In launching her bid to become Prime Minister and Leader of the Conservative Party, Theresa May spoke of her determination to introduce: “An economy that works for everyone, so we don’t just maintain economic confidence and steer the country through challenging times—but we make sure that everyone can share in the country’s wealth.” As part of this, she pledged to introduce: “A proper industrial strategy to get the whole economy firing.”
2.One of her first acts as Prime Minister was to create a new Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, which, among other things, was designed to develop “a long-term industrial strategy” as a means of improving the country’s competitiveness. This was the first time that “industrial strategy” had ever been included in a department’s title, and indicated the priority and strong intent of the new administration.
3.As the UK redefines its relationship with Europe and the rest of the world we have, in the Prime Minister’s words, “the opportunity […] to step back and ask ourselves what kind of country we want to be.” Our Report is intended to constructively contribute to the Government’s work on developing a new path for the country’s future by considering what kind of economy we should aspire to be and whether—and how—a new industrial strategy can help deliver this. Our Report is structured as follows:
4.Our inquiry was launched in August 2016 and all of our evidence taking predated publication of the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper on 23 January 2017. We are publishing our Report now, rather than gathering further evidence, to allow the Government to reflect on our recommendations alongside responses submitted to its Green Paper, as it continues to develop its thinking. We anticipate returning to this topic.
5.This Report focuses on whether the Government’s proposed industrial strategy can help build a more equal, more productive, more competitive, more innovative and higher-skilled economy. It will be complemented over the coming months by three other major Reports into areas where we believe reform may be necessary to maintain and enhance our economic success following the vote to leave the European Union. Our inquiry into Corporate Governance will look at whether the Government has the right regulatory architecture in place to promote decision-making that creates sustainable, profitable companies which also look after their employee and wider stakeholder interests. Our inquiry into the Future World of Work will consider safeguards for employees in an age of increasingly precarious employment and given likely future changes that increased digitalisation and automation will bring. Our forthcoming inquiry into Scale-Up will determine how potential high-growth small businesses can be identified and supported to create disproportionately greater economic activity and employment.
1 Rt Hon Theresa May MP,
2 Machinery of Government changes: Written Ministerial Statement (), 18 July 2016
3 Rt Hon Theresa May MP,
1 March 2017