29 November 2017

After a relatively well-received Budget, the Government will have been pleased to see that the business reaction to its Industrial Strategy white paper (http://bit.ly/2k6Z9Bz) is also generally positive.

For the CBI, Director-General Carolyn Fairbairn said it was a relief to have the Government looking to the horizon and not just "the next few yards".

"The CBI urges the Government to continue on this road, moving fast from strategy to action," she said. "Two important tests of success will be that all regions and nations have successful industrial strategies, and that it is supported and not harmed by Brexit."

Terry Scuoler, Chief Executive of EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation, described the white paper as a good foundation for a new partnership with industry while the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) said that businesses will welcome the sense of mission that infuses the Industrial Strategy.

Director General Adam Marshall particularly praised the focus on harnessing the potential of the UK's cities, towns and counties and said that this was crucial in the fight to make the country more competitive and prosperous.

Decrying "short-term Westminster politicking", he said that businesses will now want to see clear evidence that this Industrial Strategy can be implemented over the long term.

This was a point emphasised by Stephen Martin, Director General of the Institute of Directors (IoD), who warned that the plans must be followed through, not just in this parliament, but over many parliaments to come.

A survey of 700 IoD members shows that 78% of business leaders think the Industrial Strategy must be long-term to work, while 60% say it must be separated from political pressures.