Former UK Business Secretaries to make case for an industrial strategy

19 February 2024 | Muriel Cozier

‘[SCI’s] Manifesto for a Science and Innovation Strategy provides such a blueprint.’

MPs on the Business and Trade Committee are to take oral evidence from three former UK government Business Secretaries and Lord Harrington, Chair of the Harrington Review on Foreign Direct Investment. The evidence is part of the Committee’s inquiry on industrial policy. The hearing which takes place tomorrow, 20 February, will look at the past and current state of UK industrial policy as well as the steps that should be taken to steer the development of UK industry in the competitive global economy.

Along with Lord Harrington, former Business secretaries Lord Mandelson, Sir Vince Cable, and the Rt Honourable Greg Clark, who is currently Chair of the Parliamentary Science Innovation and Technology Committee will share their views on what needs to be done in the area of industrial policy.

The oral evidence follows on from the committee’s call for written evidence for an ‘ambitious new inquiry’ examining the UK government’s approach to industrial policy, for which SCI made a submission. As well as calling for a refreshed industrial strategy, in its evidence SCI set out three clear targets which it believes the government must achieve by 2030 to ensure the success of a new industrial strategy.

These three targets build on SCI’s Manifesto published in August 2023 which has received support from the three former business secretaries. In an open letter to the UK government’s Chancellor, signed by the former business secretaries in the final quarter of 2023, they said that a clear strategy was needed. ‘Investors will respond to a clear industrial strategy for the UK which brings together founders, companies, researchers, government departments and local leaders to create the best conditions to turn discoveries into jobs… [SCI’s] Manifesto for a Science and Innovation Strategy provides such a blueprint.’

At the end of 2023, the Harrington Report called for the UK to take a more active approach to attracting foreign direct investment.

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