Contributors comprise: Professor David Bailey (Aston University); Professor Lisa De Propris (University of Birmingham); Paul Hildreth (UCL); Edward Jones (UCL); Professor Philip McCann (University of Sheffield); Professor Raquel Ortega Argilés (University of Birmingham); Dr Philip Tomlinson (Bath University), Professor Ron Martin (Cambridge University); and Sally Hardy (CEO, Regional Studies Association).

We are pleased to submit this response to the Industrial Strategy consultation which is drafted by those named above and sent on behalf of the Association’s Board. We respond to a number of questions below. Our key, overarching point in response to the Green Paper is that any new industrial strategy for the UK needs to link places, sectors and technologies and have a commitment of resources requisite to meet the scale of the challenge that the UK faces.

Our key ‘calls to action’ comprise: 1. The UK needs to embrace opportunities offered by the Fourth Industrial Revolution (‘Industry 4.0’) for manufacturing and services, which is critical for the UK’s international competitiveness going forward. 2. Industrial Strategy needs to think beyond sectors alone. It needs to identify, nurture and diffuse the key cross-cutting technologies (e.g. digitalisation, internet of things, robotics and artificial intelligence) that have a ‘general purpose technology’ role across manufacturing and services. 3. Linked to this, industrial strategy needs to recognise and exploit such technologies by making them accessible to businesses in different regions. 4. To do this, industrial strategy needs to be developed regionally in a holistic sense (for example on skills, access to finance, clusters, supply chains and innovation) so as to enable policy to be better suited to the distinctive characteristics and advantages of different places. A key objective of such an approach should be to promote the tradable base of each region in the UK. 5. There needs to be a meso-regional scale to industrial strategy bringing together sectors, technologies and place. The current geographical set up of LEPs is too limited and fragmented. This meso-regional scale can usefully build on developments in terms of Combined Authorities and initiatives such as the ‘Midlands Engine.’ (e.g. in connecting elements of a regional industrial strategy such as on supply chains and clusters).

Please see the attached file for the whole response.

For more information on the open consulation Building our Industrial Strategy click here.