The Industrial Strategy: What’s in it for the North-West?

Category: Industry
The Industrial Strategy: What’s in it for the North-West?

Greenlite’s top 5 take-aways from the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) recent announcement

Following the Chancellor’s budget announcements outlining increased investment in infrastructure, homes and the regions, we’ve digested the Industrial Strategy released at the end of November by the Business and Energy Secretary, Greg Clark MP.

As a business based right in the heart of the Northern Powerhouse zone we are delighted to see the ongoing commitment to investment in infrastructure, energy efficiency and skills. It’s good for business, good for the region and, importantly, good for people.

Here are our top 5 take-aways:

Infrastructure

Mr. Clark announced the government’s commitment to “a major upgrade to the UK’s infrastructure”, outlining an increase in the National Productivity Investment Fund, taking it to £31bn. The fund is supporting investments in transport, housing and digital infrastructure; allocations to date include:

  • Transport £4.9bn – £300m will be invested to ensure High Speed 2 infrastructure can accommodate future Northern Powerhouse rail services

Research & Development

Business investment in R&D in the UK is relatively low – the UK invests 1.7% of GDP, compared to 2.8% in the USA and 2.9% in Germany. The Government has committed to reach 2.4% of GDP investment in R&D by 2027 and, investing £115m Strength in Places fund to support areas to build on their science and innovation strengths and develop stronger local networks.

  • The ‘Strength in Places’ funds for the Northern Powerhouse areas in Lancashire will focus on high value manufacturing business.

Clean Growth

The Government’s commitment outlined in October’s Clean Growth strategy was reaffirmed in the Industrial Strategy; with a package of measures including the investment of £2.5bn in low carbon innovation by 2021 plus an additional £200m of public investment (to be matched by private investment) to create a new £400m Charging Infrastructure Investment Fund.

  • Of particular interest to SMEs within the construction industry and associated businesses, was the announcement of a new scheme to support investment in industrial energy efficiency, to help large businesses install measures that will cut their energy use and bills; the Government estimates that up to £6bn could be saved in 2030 through investment in cost-effective energy saving technologies in the industrial and commercial sector.

Sector Deals

A number of partnerships between government and industry on sector-specific issues were announced with life-sciences, construction, AI and the automotive sector. The Construction Sector Deal will help build houses, schools and major transport projects.

  • Construction contributes £138bn in value added to the UK economy and employs 3.1million people. The sector deal will invest in innovation and skills, helping to reduce the environmental impact, improve the efficiency and reduce the whole life cost of new projects and buildings.

Construction skills

As well as the Construction Sector Deal, the government pledged to create a new National Retraining Scheme to support people to re-skill, beginning with a £64m investment in digital and construction training.

  • In addition, the Secretary of State announced the introduction of new technical education qualifications ‘T-levels’, putting them on the same footing as the academic system. The first ‘T-levels’ will be taught from 2020 and include construction. Following the introduction of the Apprenticeship Levy in April 2017, the Government is making over £60m available to support apprenticeship take-up by young people and poorer families from disadvantaged areas.
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