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Monday, July 22, 2024

Industrial strategy must recognise place as well as sector to tackle productivity gap

In a written response to the government’s Industrial Strategy green paper, North & Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce (NWLCC) has called for the government to keep a tight  focus on: investing in science, research and innovation, developing skills, upgrading infrastructure, improving local procurement, encouraging trade and inward investment, delivering affordable energy and clean growth and creating the right institutions to bring together sectors and places.

In its response, NWLCC Chief Executive, Babs Murphy, said:  “We welcome the opportunity to respond to the Green paper and share the Government’s vision for a stronger economy and fairer society which is spread across every community in our United Kingdom, not just the most prosperous places in London and the South East.

“However, the UK has demonstrated time and again that it is not good at sustaining long term policies.  The government must ensure they seek joined up cross party buy in if the Industrial Strategy has any chance to become sustainable and succeed in the long term.  We believe that strong integration of cross strategy themes such as stimulating productivity, growth and exports; investment in research; investment in innovation; investment in infrastructure; attracting and retaining a skilled, fit for purpose workforce are fundamental linkages in the Industrial Strategy.

“The Industrial strategy should not be all things to all men.  A balanced portfolio must be adopted which includes targeted backing and intervention for ‘winning sectors’. However, the meaning of a ‘winner’ must be clear and long-term and should include pointers such as R&D investment, sustainable exports and productivity.

“Investment in ‘winning’ sectors should be supplemented by the provision for the transfer of knowledge, technology and innovation between such winners and other sectors, for the benefit of the wider UK economy.

“Lancashire possesses inherent strengths in advanced manufacturing and engineering, coupled with the opportunities presented by shale gas and the diverse energy sector that exists, Lancashire has the potential of regaining its role as a national economic powerhouse.

“Lancashire has a strong energy sector, including renewables, so there is plenty of opportunity to build on this using shale gas as the catalyst – “Lancashire’s energy coast”.

“Lancashire has a long and proud history of innovation and development particularly in nascent industries.  The Industrial Revolution started here in Lancashire and so we’re no stranger to the exploitation of natural resources, technological processes, and business acumen”.

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