10 ways Theresa May plans to build a ‘truly modern British Industrial Strategy’

Prime minister is attempting to strike new 'sector deals' to help businesses "emerge and grow" with investments in skills, science and start-ups...

Theresa May has today revealed proposals to create the right conditions for British businesses to start and grow with the launch of her ‘Modern Industrial Strategy’ green paper.

The paper, which outlines 10 key ‘sector deals’ that will address challenges and opportunities for businesses, was announced by the prime minister at her first regional Cabinet meeting this morning and is intended to drive growth “right across the UK”.

In light of May’s ‘hard Brexit’ speech last week, the proposals are also aimed at tackling “underlying weaknesses to secure Britain’s future as a competitive, global nation”.

Here are the 10 ways that May plans to “back Britain for the long-term”, as detailed in the paper:

  1. Investing in science, research and innovation – “We must become a more innovative economy and do more to commercialise our world leading science base to drive growth across the UK.”
  2. Developing skills We must help people and businesses to thrive by: ensuring everyone has the basic skills needed in a modern economy; building a new system of technical education to benefit the half of young people who do not go to university; boosting STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) skills, digital skills and numeracy; and by raising skill levels in lagging areas.”
  3. Upgrading infrastructure – “We must upgrade our standards of performance on digital, energy, transport, water and flood defence infrastructure, and better align central government infrastructure investment with local growth priorities”.
  4. Supporting businesses to start and grow – “We must ensure that businesses across the UK can access the finance and management skills they need to grow; and we must create the right conditions for companies to invest for the long term.”
  5. Improving procurement – “We must use strategic government procurement to drive innovation and enable the development of UK supply chains.”
  6. Encouraging trade and inward investment policy – “Government policy can help boost productivity and growth across our economy, including by increasing competition and helping to bring new ways of doing things to the UK.”
  7. Delivering affordable energy and clean growth – “We need to keep costs down for businesses, and secure the economic benefits of the transition to a low-carbon economy.”
  8. Cultivating world-leading sectors – “We must build on our areas of competitive advantage, and help new sectors to flourish, in many cases challenging existing institutions and incumbents.”
  9. Driving growth across the whole country – “We will create a framework to build on the particular strengths of different places and address factors that hold places back – whether it is investing in key infrastructure projects to encourage growth, increasing skill levels, or backing local innovation strengths.”
  10. Creating the right institutions to bring together sectors and places – “We will consider the best structures to support people, industries and places. In some places and sectors there may be missing institutions which we could create, or existing ones we could strengthen, be they local civic or educational institutions, trade associations or financial networks.”

May said: “The Modern Industrial Strategy […]will be underpinned by a new approach to government, not just stepping back but stepping up to a new, active role that backs business and ensures more people in all corners of the country share in the benefits of its success.”

Business and energy secretary, Greg Clark, continued:

“[This] must build on the UK’s strengths and extend excellence into the future; close the gap between the the UK’s most productive companies, industries, places and people and the rest; and ensure we are one of the most competitive places in the world to start and grow a business.

“We are inviting businesses and workers to contribute to this vision to help us create a high-skilled economy where every place can meet its potential.”

 Outside of the proposals, the government is also announcing a cash boost of £556m for the Northern Powerhouse to help create jobs, support businesses and encourage growth.

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