House of Lords Library

Industrial Strategy and the UK Economy

Published Thursday, December 21, 2017

This House of Lords Library briefing has been produced in preparation for the debate on 8 January 2018 on the Government's Industrial Strategy and the case for boosting earning power and productivity across the United Kingdom with investment in the skills, businesses and infrastructure of the future.

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The Government’s white paper, Industrial Strategy: Building a Britain Fit for the Future, was published on 27 November 2017.  

The white paper states that the industrial strategy will “create an economy that boosts productivity and earning power throughout the UK” by focusing on what it describes as the “five foundations” of productivity. These foundations are: ideas (research and innovation); people (skills, jobs and earnings); infrastructure (particularly transport, housing and digital technology); business environment (encouraging business creation and small business productivity); and places (prosperous communities, addressing disparities in regional productivity and spreading the proceeds of growth).   

In addition to the five foundations, the industrial strategy also identifies four “grand challenges” facing the UK. These challenges are: the artificial intelligence and data revolution; the global shift to clean growth; the future of mobility (focused on transport networks, electric vehicles and driverless cars); and an ageing society. 

This Library briefing summarises the industrial strategy’s proposals for public investment, the debate on the strategy which took place in the House of Commons on 27 November 2017, and reaction to the publication of the strategy from a range of organisations, such as the Trades Union Congress, the Confederation of British Industry, and EEF, the manufacturers’ association. The briefing also includes productivity growth and earnings growth data from the Office for National Statistics, and recent statements from the Office for Budget Responsibility announcing downgrades to their productivity growth and earnings growth forecasts. 

Lords Library notes LLN-2017-0104

Author: James Goddard

Topics: Economic policy, Industry, Research and innovation

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