Public Policy

November 28, 2017

A look at the Government’s Industrial Strategy White Paper


Less than a week on from the Chancellor’s rather conservative Budget, Business Secretary Greg Clark and Prime Minister Theresa May have published the Government’s Industrial Strategy White Paper.

Originally touted as one half of the Government’s Plan for Britain (alongside its 12-point Brexit Plan), the Industrial Strategy had sought to establish a strong and stable policy framework to secure the post-Brexit UK Economy –tackling productivity, stimulating inward investment and driving growth across the whole country. At the heart of this approach had been the Sector Deals, the joint Government-industry-academia initiatives to cultivate the UK’s world-leading sectors and deliver clusters of excellence across the UK.

When the Green Paper had been published back in January, the need for a modern industrial strategy had been a key tenet of the Prime Minister’s new vision for the UK, and thus had the full weight of Number 10 behind it. However, following July’s General Election result and subsequent change in personnel at Number 10, alongside an increasingly difficult Brexit negotiation process which has dominated policymakers’ agendas, today’s White Paper looks very different from that which was promised earlier this year.

The Ten Strategic Pillars have collapsed, and we are left with Five Foundations of Productivity which seek to address the depressing picture painted by the Chancellor at last week’s Budget of slow and low economic growth. Meanwhile, the Government has identified Four Grand Challenges that the UK must address if it is to take advantage of world-changing trends, including: an ageing society; the artificial intelligence (AI) and data revolution; the global shift to clean growth; and, the future of mobility. Where we may have expected 100s of Sector Deals for everything from ceramics to steel, this White Paper confirms only four more Deals, with three further potential Deals in the pipeline. The offer to other sectors to secure a Deal remains, but you’ll need to get in quick and meet a range of minimum criteria to do so.

The Paper’s announcements are largely a reiteration of previous funding pots and policy changes, many of which were set out in last week’s Budget. Indeed, we understand that Greg Clark had intended to publish his Industrial Strategy 1-2 weeks ago but that internal delays had meant that Philip Hammond was able to steal his thunder on many fronts. The document itself is littered with typos and repetition, perhaps an indication that it had not been finalised until 8pm this Sunday evening.

Nevertheless, to help you navigate the 250-page document, we have broken down the key announcements, setting out how the Government plans to establish its Five Foundations of Productivity and tackle the Four Grand Challenges.

Click here for our summary: