The Industrial Strategy Starts to Take Shape
The Business Secretary unveils current thinking and funding initiatives on the Industrial Strategy.
Matthew Evans, Head of techUK’s Smart Infrastructure Programme said “The Business Secretary has given a timely update on the status of the Industrial Strategy harnessing the momentum on the shift to smarter, more flexible energy system – a shift which can deliver significant economic as well as environmental benefits.
Digital must be the golden thread that weaves through the Industrial Strategy. Greater uptake of digital technologies, combined with giving the next generation the skills they need to thrive in a digital future, are key to solving the UK’s productivity puzzle. BEIS is moving in the right direction, however, we await more concrete policies for unlocking the next wave of digitisation.”
The Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Greg Clarke MP, gave an update on how the Industrial Strategy is taking shape as well as announcing a package of measures around developing a smarter energy system at a speech in Birmingham yesterday.
The Secretary of State stated that the Government’s Green Paper ‘Building an Industrial Strategy’ had received nearly 2000 responses, confirming that the Government will formally respond with a White Paper around the Autumn Budget. However, he was clear that the outline of a strategy is already clear. At its heart is the ambition to improve productivity and “boost earning power throughout the country – its people, places and companies”. In order to do this the Strategy will focus on five key foundations:
- People; with an aim of ensuring that people everywhere have the skills to help them be productive and competitive, building on the Sainsbury report on technical education
- Innovation; through an increase in public science and innovation funding which will reach £4,7bn per annum by 2020 and the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund
- Place; in many ways an expansion of devolution with a focus on enabling cities and regions to generate clusters around skills and ideas. This builds on techUK’s Digital Devolution work
- Infrastructure; from transport to digital communications to a smart energy system
- A modern liberal society; the UK’s legal system, free press and intellectual property regime.
The Secretary of State also outlined three Industry Strategy Challenges that aims to bring together industry, academia and government together on specific issues. These are the;
- Faraday Challenge; the first phase of a £246 million investment into battery technology. This will include a Battery Institute competition to establish a centre for battery research. Its advisory board will be headed by Richard Parry-Jones, former head of the Automotive Council.
- The next phase in the Connected and Autonomous Vehicles Funding is opening, which for the first time will accept proposals from off-road vehicles (such as agricultural equipment)
- Finally, the Government and Ofgem published its Smart Systems and Flexibility plan setting out the principles of how we manage the transition to a resilient, cost effective and low carbon energy future.
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