Industrial Strategy receives business community backing

77% of entrepreneurs think Industrial Strategy should prioritise emerging businesses and sectors including clean energy, robotics and biotechnology

88% of business leaders agree that the UK should have a comprehensive industrial strategy, according to the Business Growth Fund’s latest Growth Climate Index – a study measuring confidence in the UK’s business growth environment

The survey of more than 280 business leaders and entrepreneurs found that 77% think the government’s Industrial Strategy should provide targeted support for emerging businesses and sectors including clean energy, robotics and biotechnology, with just 11% believing established businesses and sectors should be prioritised.

86% of those surveyed agreed that, under certain circumstances, it is right for the government to intervene in the private sector in order to support economic growth, while 82% said the government should focus on supporting small businesses specifically to fuel productivity.

Positivity has grown since the results of the last Growth Climate Index – conducted in the wake of the EU referendum – when 72% thought growth conditions would worsen and 12% expected them to improve. Today, 38% are predicting improved conditions over the next quarter, 29% are expecting them to worsen and 33% don’t anticipate a change.

Respondents were also asked to assess the previous quarter, with 36% believing conditions to have improved, 26% thinking they had worsened and 38% that they had remained the same. This is in contrast to the July 2016 index, when 66% believed that conditions had worsened compared to 10% who thought they had improved.

Stephen Welton, chief executive of BGF, said: “The Government’s Industrial Strategy is enjoying strong support from the private sector but business leaders clearly want a break from the past.

“Rather than solely propping up established players and businesses at the top, there is a clear appetite for a new kind of Industrial Strategy which supports and energises growing businesses and sectors, but also recognises the role that smaller businesses can play in driving innovation and eliminating the productivity gap.

“This task will only become more important as we leave the EU and build a new trading relationship with our European partners, and indeed the rest of the world.”

 

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