Government starts to frame its industrial strategy

Government starts to frame its industrial strategy

Born from the need to address the UK’s productivity gap and provide a plan for the UK post-Brexit, Government issued yesterday its proposed Modern Industrial Strategy outlining its vision to “improve living standards and economic growth by increasing productivity and driving growth???. Government will be consulting on these proposals until 17 April 2017.

The paper includes new policies for a wide range of sectors which have been identified as driving growth: science, research and innovation; skills; infrastructure; business growth and investment; procurement; trade and investment; affordable energy; sectoral policies; driving growth across the whole country; and creating the right institutions to bring together sectors and places.

Already a key feature of the Autumn Statement, the Strategy makes reference to the Government’s plans to boost digital infrastructure investment:

  • £400 million new Digital Infrastructure Investment Fund (matched by private investment) to invest in new fibre networks over the next 4 years, helping to boost market ambitions to deploy full-fibre access to millions more premises by 2020
  • £740 million allocated to the investment in the deployment of local full fibre broadband rollout into businesses and the public sector as well as 5G mobile technology and optical fibre

The Strategy also includes the creation of a new Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund which will be designed “to help the UK capitalise on its strengths in science and innovation??? such as transformative digital technologies including supercomputing, advanced modelling, and 5G mobile network technology.

The paper also seeks views on issues which complement the National Infrastructure Commission’s Call for Evidence on UK infrastructure policy. The Government also highlights that the long-awaited Digital Strategy will be published shortly.

Whilst the document does a good job of collating existing initiatives it is clear that a top line narrative and full detail on these proposals will need to wait till the Budget in March.