2 March 2017


CBI raises Industrial Strategy priorities

Carolyn Fairbairn asks the government five questions on the Industrial Strategy that are key for its success

CBI raises Industrial Strategy priorities

Speaking to an audience of 120 local business leaders from across the Midlands at the National Space Centre in Leicester Carolyn Fairbairn praised steps taken by the government to help businesses become more competitive, but stated that ministers and companies need to sharpen their focus to make the Industrial Strategy the foundation for success firms are looking for.

Read Carolyn’s full speech

Carolyn emphasised how crucial it is that that business and the government works together on a shared vision for our future economy at this crucial stage in the UK’s history. She confirmed that the Green Paper is a good starting point, but, as the first draft is reviewed and progress is made towards a final version, the government must answer five questions that will make Industrial Strategy a success:

  1. First, vision - what does success look like in 5, 10 and 15 years from now? What kind of economy does the UK want to be, beyond the characteristics we all agree on, like productive and inclusive? There will be hard choices. 
  2. Second, measurement – what targets will be put in place? The Government needs to define its success in terms of measures and performance indicators. This is the bedrock of accountability and should be independently verified. 
  3. Third, world-beating sectors - will all sectors have deals with the Government, or only some? If the answer is some, then which ones and why? The plan should replicate bright examples of existing strategy, such as automotive and aerospace.
  4. Fourth, focus. What is the hard-edged action plan that sits behind the 10 pillars? The current Green Paper lists many routes for change. The White Paper needs to prioritise, focus on doing a few things well, with clear actions and milestones.
  5. And fifth, consistency. What is the Government’s plan to ensure everything does not change again in 3 years’ time? Firms need consistency and predictability. There are too many historic examples of flash-in-the-pan industrial strategies – this one must go further.

For more information, please contact Nicola.hetherington@cbi.org.uk