Industrial strategy will not work long-term, say MPs

The Government’s long-term industrial strategy will not work, MPs have warned.

The report, published by the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) select committee, looks at the recent industrial strategy green paper.

The committee’s chairman Iain Wright said the Government should be working on new policies, rather than simply continuing and expanding current ones.

He said the “business as usual” approach will not achieve the result needed and that the strategy will fall short in providing long-term security for industrial sectors.

Mr Wright said one of the green paper approaches – that sectors should approach the Government to strike deals – could lead to special pleading and that some key areas could miss out.

“One of the things the committee felt quite strongly was that if you just go down a sectoral route you are going to miss the cracks in the middle,” he said.

“And the cracks in the middle could be where the real economic advantages are.

“What happens if something is really important to the UK economy and they don’t come forward with a sectoral deal?”

The MPs argued that the Government should instead focus on “horizontal” policies that would benefit the wider economy.

This includes boosting skills, infrastructure, and research and development, the committee added.

It also warned that industry will need to continue to bring in skilled workers from abroad after Britain has left the European Union.

“In the context of negotiations over free movement as part of withdrawal from the EU, government must ensure that businesses continue to be able to access the skills they need.”

The Government’s industrial strategy green paper can be found here.