Birmingham well placed to benefit from the Government’s new Industrial Strategy, but Prime Minister will be judged by results, says council leader
Birmingham City Council leader John Clancy has responded to the publication today of the Government’s Green Paper on Industrial Strategy:
“I welcome the fact that the Government has finally decided that Britain desperately needs a properly thought through and planned industrial strategy and has accepted that the future of economic growth post-Brexit cannot be left solely to the vagaries of the market.
“The publication of the Industrial Strategy Green Paper must be just the beginning of a national debate about how the UK makes sure its industry is competitive and fit for purpose in a fast-changing world. As the leader of Birmingham City Council and the Industrial Strategy portfolio holder for Core Cities, I look forward to contributing to that debate.
“The Prime Minister has said the Government will no longer step back but will in future step up to a ‘new, active role that backs business and ensures more people in all corners of the country share in the benefits of its success’. Few could disagree with Mrs May’s sentiments, but she should know that the businesses and citizens of Birmingham will judge her by results.
“The Government has said it will look favourably on the type of sectors that we know will shape the economy of tomorrow, with life sciences, low carbon vehicles, industrial digitalisation and creative industries likely to be at the front of the queue for investment.
“On the face of it, that’s good news for Birmingham and the West Midlands where our hospitals and universities are already blazing a trail in medical research, and where JLR has expressed a wish to look at building a new battery and assembly plant for electric cars.
“However, there’s far more the Government should be doing if it wants to rebalance the economy and promote inclusive economic growth, with well-paid jobs for all citizens. Enhanced capital allowances should be considered to stimulate investment in manufacturing, the Advanced Manufacturing Supply Chain Initiative should be resurrected, and funding gaps for small firms in the supply chain need to be plugged.
“Underpinning any sensible industrial strategy must be a genuine Government commitment to devolution, allowing cities and city regions to drive forward with policy shaped by local decision making. This must include devolved financial clout and independence. I welcome the green paper’s recognition of the importance of the local authorities and combined authorities as key local institutions but again look for a stronger commitment to devolution to enable us to deliver.
“The Government must also ensure that governance at a regional level, whether through combined authorities, local enterprise partnerships, or metro mayors, should be able to work with development bodies that can intervene more widely and strategically at a regional level, and do smart specialisation through regional level industrial policies.”