Today, Make UK’s CEO Stephen Phipson has written to the Secretary of State for Business on the decision to cancel the publication of the refreshed Industrial Strategy, and instead replace it with the Government’s new Plan for Growth. As well as cancelling the publication of the revised Industrial Strategy, the Government has also disbanded the accompanying Industrial Strategy Council.
The Industrial Strategy is something that UK manufacturers greatly welcomed and supported. It was a clear indication of the importance that Government placed in the success of British manufacturing and industry to the national economy. Therefore, the lack of an Industrial Strategy will be of concern to the manufacturing industry, which is facing a series of simultaneous and defining challenges: recovering from the economic and societal impacts of Covid-19, implementing the new trade agreement with the EU, maximising the opportunity of digitisation, artificial intelligence and robotics and supporting the achievement of the Government’s levelling up ambitions.
Therefore, the news that commitments to the publication of a new Industrial Strategy, the existence of the guiding Council and related civil service capacity have all been withdrawn has caused significant concern and frustration within manufacturers of all sizes across the UK. Make UK has set these frustrations out clearly in the letter to the Secretary of State for Business.
As well as expressing concerns, the letter asks the Secretary of State how the Government now intends to work with the sector and engage them on matters of underpinning activity such as national infrastructure investment and set out the detailed thinking which will be of such value in boosting confidence that UK Manufacturing is the right place for domestic and international investment.
We will be following up our concerns on this important topic with the Government in the coming weeks.
You can read the full letter here.