The Industrial Strategy

The Industrial Strategy is the government's plan for the development of the UK economy. First laid out in a Green Paper in January 2017, the Industrial Strategy "sets out a long-term plan to boost the productivity and earning power of people throughout the UK".

Through the strategy the government plans to help businesses create better, higher-paying jobs through investment in the skills, industries and infrastructure. To do this the strategy is built around five themes:

  • Ideas
  • People
  • Infrastructure
  • Business environment
  • Places

The Industrial Strategy identifies a number of high growth sectors which the Government believes can drive the economy in the future. To achieve this growth, the strategy recognises that the UK must greatly improve its productivity. By improving productivity and the economy, the strategy aims to also keep employment high and therefore raise living standards, provide funds to support public services, and improve the quality of life of people in the UK.

As a key component of a modern skills-led economy, universities and business schools have a keen interest in the progress and implementation of the strategy, and in turn have a lot to contribute in this area. This page collects the combined comment, research, and advocacy Chartered ABS has done with, and on behalf of, its membership to ensure business schools have a say in the roll-out of the strategy.

Many of the solutions in the Industrial Strategy: funding for innovation, technical education, sector deals for innovative technologies, and a focus on promoting regional hubs; have all suggested a focus on forward facing, skills-led growth in which business schools could play an important role.

A strong focus on research funding was also outlined. The strategy proposes to raise total research and development (R&D) investment to 2.4 per cent of GDP by 2027; increase the rate of R&D tax credit to 12 per cent; and invest £725m in new Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund programmes to capture the value of innovation.

Business schools have demonstrable expertise in supporting productivity, innovation, business efficiency and growth. They work across all sectors of the economy including in STEM and other high growth industries highlighted in the strategy.

Business schools are also key partners within local areas to help support businesses and local economic growth. 35 business schools hold the Small Business Charter which recognises the contribution they make to support small business growth, student entrepreneurship, and local economies.

Particular policies within the strategy of relevance to business schools include:

  • Sector Deals – partnerships between government and industry aiming to increase sector productivity. The first of these are in life sciences, construction, artificial intelligence and the automotive sector.
  • Over £20bn of investment in innovative and high potential businesses, including through establishing a new £2.5bn Investment Fund
  • A review of the actions that could be most effective in improving the productivity and growth of small and medium-sized businesses, including how to address what has been called the ‘long tail’ of lower productivity firms
  • Local Industrial Strategies that build on local strengths and deliver on economic opportunities
  • A number of Small Business Charter schools are in the process of tendering a consortium bid for the Business Basics Fund.

The Green Paper can be found here.

The White Paper can be found here.

In this Impact Factor case study, we see how midlands robotics firm Mechatronics achieved 400% growth over the past 5 years, thanks to its cooperation with Aston Business School at Aston University. Also featuring interviews with Chartered ABS Fellow the Rt Hon The Lord Young CH, and the Chair of the Small Business Charter, Michelle Ovens.

You can view many more outstanding examples of how business schools add value to the lives of their students, the economy, society, and businesses worldwide, on our Impact Factor programme. This complete programme is available through YouTube and on our webpage.