UK Business Secretary Greg Clark has today launched the UK government's 'Industrial Strategy' which is billed as a plan to boost the economy, build on the country's strengths and embrace the opportunities of technological change ahead. Four industrial sectors are included in the strategy, including automotive.

As part of the strategy, an 'Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund' will invest an additional GBP725m in new programmes to 'capture the value of innovation'.

The strategy is also designed to encourage private sector investment and the government announced today that it has secured a major strategic investment into UK by world leading life sciences company MSD.

The 'Sector Deals' cover construction, artificial intelligence (AI), automotive and life sciences – to help sectors grow and equip businesses for future opportunities.

With the aim of making the UK the 'world's most innovative nation by 2030', the government has committed to investing a further GBP725m over the next 3 years in the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF). The government has previously committed GBP1bn to the first wave of Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund projects, including investing GBP246m in next generation battery technology and GBP86m in robotics hubs across the UK.

A white paper published today also confirms government will be pressing ahead with a series of Sector Deals, with construction, life sciences, automotive and AI the first to benefit from these new 'strategic and long-term partnerships with government, backed by private sector co-investment.' Work will continue with other sectors on 'transformative sector deals'.

Prime Minister Theresa May said: "Our modern Industrial Strategy will shape a stronger and fairer economy for decades to come. It will help create the conditions where successful businesses can emerge and grow, and support these businesses in seizing the big opportunities of our time, such as artificial intelligence and big data, whilst also making sure our young people have the skills to take on the high-paid, high-skilled jobs this creates.

"As we leave the European Union and forge a new path for ourselves, we need to focus on building a better future for our country and all the people who live in it. With the Budget last week, and our Industrial Strategy in the years ahead, we will build a Britain fit for the future."

The government has identified four 'Grand Challenges' - global trends that will shape a rapidly changing future and which the 'UK must embrace to ensure we harness all the opportunities they bring'.

The four are:

  • artificial intelligence – to put the UK 'at the forefront of the artificial intelligence and data revolution';
  • clean growth – to maximise the advantages for UK industry from the global shift to clean growth;
  • ageing society – to harness the power of innovation to help meet the needs of an ageing society;
  • future of mobility – to become a world leader in the way people, goods and services move.

Business Secretary Greg Clark said: "The UK is well-placed to benefit from this new industrial revolution and we start from a position of significant strength. We have a thriving research and science base and are home to a wide range of innovative sectors, from advanced manufacturing and life sciences, to fintech and creative industries.

"The Industrial Strategy is an unashamedly ambitious vision for the future of our country, laying out how we tackle our productivity challenge, earn our way in the future, and improve living standards across the country."

The UK government presented downward revisions to economic growth forecasts in its Autumn Budget last week and analysts have said that UK productivity remains below that of other major developed economies. The new strategy can also help counter some of the gloom surrounding the Brexit negotiations with the EU which have yet to move on to future trade arrangements.

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