Over the past week SCI’s Manifesto for an Industrial Science and Innovation Strategy has been the focus of increasing attention, not least with three former UK government business secretaries endorsing the strategy.
In a letter to UK chancellor, Jeremy Hunt, the former business secretaries Lord Mandelson, Sir Vince Cable and the Rt Hon Greg Clark asserted that last week’s Autumn Statement was an ‘important opportunity to launch a growth and investment strategy for Britain’. The signatories said that SCI’s Manifesto provided a ‘blueprint’ for such a strategy.
‘Building agreement across parties can give confidence to investors making long-term decisions,’ they assert.
Rishi Sunak says lower inflation has opened way to UK tax cuts https://t.co/GnuRmhXWwv— Financial Times (@FT) November 20, 2023
The letter was referenced by the Financial Times on the 20 November, ahead of the Autumn Statement. ‘A cross-party group of former business secretaries wrote to Hunt urging him to launch “a clear science and industrial strategy”’, the FT said, adding; ‘Sunak ditched Britain’s sweeping industrial strategy when he was chancellor in favour of focusing on five specific sectors – digital tech, creative industries, advanced manufacturing, green industries and life science.’
An opinion piece by SCI’s CEO Sharon Todd was published in City AM the following day, warning that the prime minister cannot ‘get the UK growing’ without an industrial strategy. Todd wrote of the deep concern among business leaders that the government had abandoned any form of industrial strategy.
‘There are a few promising signs however, that the government will produce a detailed strategy to boost UK competitiveness. An industrial strategy in name only will not deliver the potential of our high value manufacturing, research, life sciences and green technology sectors to be economic engines,’ she wrote.
Todd also used an interview in the Sunday Express to call for the UK to be made ‘more attractive to long term investment from businesses’, pointing out that AstraZeneca chose to build a multi-million pound facility in Ireland, Todd said: ‘The UK is just not competitive any more. Take AstraZeneca – that is an investment that comes around once every 20 years.’
Download SCI's Manifesto for an Industrial Science & Innovation Strategy here.