Ministers to publish long-awaited 'Industrial Strategy' for post-Brexit economy

Posted On: 
27th November 2017

A US healthcare giant will open a research centre in the UK as part of a major Government plan to boost flailing UK productivity as it quits the EU.

Greg Clark was appointed Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy in July 2016

Business Secretary Greg Clark said the industrial strategy - set to be published later today - was “even more important” as the country faces Brexit.

The plan is designed to lift growth and improve productivity, with the latter identified as a key concern by Philip Hammond at last week's Budget.

US healthcare firm MSD - known as Merck in the US - has agreed to build a life sciences discovery centre in Britain as part of the strategy - thought to be worth 950 jobs and £1bn in investment.

The move is a “huge vote of confidence” in Government plans to boost the economy post-Brexit, ministers said.

Some £80bn of extra research and development cash over the next decade was also announced at the Budget in a bid to match the spending of other advanced nations.

Britain currently spends 1.7% of GDP on R&D - lower than the 2.4% average for OECD nations.

The strategy is also expected to include big plans on artificial intelligence, clean energy, driverless cars and drone deliveries, according to the BBC.

Mr Clarke said: "More decisions about our economic future will be in our own hands and it is vital that we take them.”

He added: “Any serious strategy should address the weaknesses that stop us achieving our potential, as well as our strengths, and this Industrial Strategy does that.”

Speaking on the release of the Government’s Industrial Strategy, James Stewart, Vice Chair at KPMG UK said: “The UK’s patchwork quilt of regional initiatives has left some towns and regions detached from national prosperity.  The Government’s Industrial Strategy needs to fix these imbalances urgently and address the UK’s productivity challenge, especially if we are to compete on a global stage post-Brexit."

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