As part of our campaign to boost regional growth and prosperity, the CBI has long called for the introduction of monitoring body to provide transparent, independent and impartial advice on where government should concentrate its efforts to meet the objectives of the Industrial Strategy. The formation of the Industrial Strategy Council is welcome progress a year after the creation of the Strategy.
Andy Haldane, Chief Economist at the Bank of England, will stand as Chair, ensuring that the Industrial Strategy remains a long-term solution. The CBI hopes the Industrial Strategy Council is free from political bias, in the style of the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR).
Achieving longevity for the Industrial Strategy can help address regional imbalances by building upon the foundations of productivity, addressing regional disparities and challenges. However, we must be able to assess the success of the Industrial Strategy – and this is something that an independent and statutory Industrial Strategy Council will help to achieve.
By independently assessing progress, the UK can better embed the Industrial Strategy and achieve cross-party support to address regional disparities – and boost overall UK competitiveness.
This would involve looking to lessons we can learn from abroad, such as the Australian Productivity Commission leading to permanent staff being able to conduct research and analysis to hold government to account. There should also be more transparency involved during the selection of councillors, with clear terms of reference to help secure wide buy-in from across government, political parties, businesses and the public.