5 Oct 2017
The Industrial Strategy remains a focus for the government as the UK makes progresses towards leaving the EU. ‘The British dream is still within reach,’ said Theresa May at her first party conference since this summer’s general election, held this year in Manchester. ‘As we roll out our modern Industrial Strategy, we will attract and invest in new high-paid, high-skilled jobs – spreading prosperity and opportunity to every part of this country,’ she said.
In an uncharacteristically personal speech, May focused on Brexit, following on from her Florence speech and the fourth round of negotiations with the EU, and made some key policy announcements, including the publication of a draft bill mid-October to cap energy bills – ‘bringing an end to rip-off energy prices once and for all’.
The Prime Minister addressed sceptics of the free market – a model the UK may adopt post-Brexit – championing its ability to ‘work for everyone in every part of this country, not just the privileged few’. She said: ‘The free market – and the values of freedom, equality, rights, responsibilities, and the rule of law that lie at its heart – remains the greatest agent of collective human progress ever created’.
May claimed that, despite criticism to the contrary, the government is ‘preparing for every eventuality’ in talks with the EU and beyond. ‘I am going to make it my mission to solve this problem. I will take personal charge of the government’s response, and make the British Dream a reality…once again,’ she said.
A devolved nation was a common theme at this year’s Conservative Party Conference, with May nodding to the Northern Powerhouse in her speech, and a starring role for Andy Street, newly-elected Mayor of the West Midlands, who said the region is ‘powering the UK’s success’.
‘It is indeed our time,’ he said. ‘If the Industrial Strategy is to work, it has to be a roaring success in our regions, and in particular in the West Midlands, because once again Birmingham, Coventry and the Black Country are becoming the engines of the UK’s success’. Street highlighted the region’s progress in driverless and electric cars, medicine, and transport – all considered priority research areas by the government.
Street gave a conference speech and appeared in a panel with the new Conservative Mayors – ‘Delivering a modern industrial strategy’ – alongside Business Secretary, Greg Clark, and Environment Secretary, Michael Gove.
By Georgina Hines