Business leaders call for Government focus on Industrial Strategy

Babs Murphy, chief executive officer of the North and Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce.
Babs Murphy, chief executive officer of the North and Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce.
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In a written response to the governments Industrial Strategy green paper, county business leaders have called for the government to keep a tight focus on improvements to boost industry.

The North and Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce has asked the Government to invest in science, research and innovation, developing skills, upgrading infrastructure, improving local procurement, encouraging trade and inward investment.

It has also asked it to deliver affordable energy and clean growth and create the right institutions to bring together sectors and places.

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 and so there is plenty of opportunity to build on this using shale gas as the catalyst – ‘Lancashire’s energy coast’.”

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