Industrial strategy to form part of ‘new chapter’ for British economy, says May

Written by Nicholas Mairs on 6 November 2017 in News

White paper to be published this month will set framework for more balanced economy post-Brexit, says PM

Theresa May has set out plans to create a "new chapter" for Britain’s economy following a decade of ‘weathering the storm’ from the financial crisis.

The prime minister pledged that the government’s Industrial Strategy White Paper, due later this month, will offer a new approach that can deliver “economic and social progress for everyone in society.”

Addressing the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) conference later today, May said “hard work, imagination and commitment by government and industry” can bring “huge opportunities” in the next ten years.


"Our job now is to look to the future. If the last ten years have seen us weathering the storm of the financial crisis rebuilding our fiscal and economic position, the next ten years must see the beginning of a new chapter in the story of the British economy," she added.

"So today I want to talk about my vision for the stronger, fairer, and better-balanced economy we need to build in the years ahead. An economy which builds on its strengths and can compete in the world… central to this plan is our modern industrial strategy.

"By setting the right frameworks, and investing in skills and infrastructure, we can help broaden our economic base, build a more balanced economy and make Britain a true global leader."

The prime minister suggested that while ministers will have to make “strategic decisions” in shaping the economy, they must avoid an approach similar to the “failed intervention of the 1970s”.

May also said that while businesses should be among those “excited by the possibilities” from leaving the European Union, it is important to acknowledge that a future relationship "will take time to finalise”.

"I have made clear that a strictly time-limited implementation period will be crucial to our future success. I know how important it is for business and industry not to face a cliff-edge and to have the time it needs to plan and prepare for the new arrangements," she added.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is expected to use his speech to the conference later this morning to highlight the risk of the government delaying any transition deal until a final deal with the EU is agreed – a scenario he will declare “is simply not good enough”.

“The prospect of sudden changes in the legal and regulatory environment in which people do business is affecting your decisions right now."

“Watching chaos and confusion grow at the heart of government and Brexit negotiations stuck in a stalemate, many of you probably feel that the situation is more uncertain and more precarious than ever. Time is running out," he will say.

Corbyn will also warn once more against the prospect of leaving the EU without a trade deal: “The fact that some in the cabinet want ‘no deal’ to re-launch Britain as a race-to-the-bottom deregulated tax haven on the shores of Europe, only adds to the risks.”

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Nicholas Mairs
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Nicholas Mairs is a news reporter for PoliticsHome, where this story first appeared. He tweets @Nicholas_Mairs

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