The UK governments green paper is a welcome initiative setting manufacturing at the heart of government thinking and it is vital that the green paper is followed through with clear commitments.
1. Connecting universities to technologies and clusters. It would be good to see a clear link between university research funds, outcomes and industry partnerships with research and development incentives linked to university collaboration.
2. Regional funding to support clusters (whether it be automotive, aerospace or advanced manufacturing)
3. Industry bursaries or grants to support new technology colleges. We have seen, as an example, the James Dyson University being set up in conjunction with Warwick. Similar incentives should be encouraged.
4. Venture Capital Trust tax breaks for investing in industries.
5. The LSE via AIM setting up a special industrial index.
6. An Industrial Bank akin to the Green Bank run out of the Midlands or North adopting similar processes to the historic 3i-model.
7. A coordinated national logistics and telecommunication strategy linking to the industrial hubs.
While the green paper emphasises this is about ideas, the private sector must commit. Focussing on the fourth industrial revolution and increasing productivity is an encouraging start to a new philosophy from government.
Eversheds Sutherland will coordinate responses to the green paper and is keen to set the agenda. Responses to the consultation questions must be received by 17 April 2017. We would be delighted to work with interested parties to shape or communicate any individual responses they wish to make.
It is clear that government intervention is required to address faltering productivity across the UK, and that this could be a positive step towards meeting the underlying structural challenges facing the UK economy, such as regional inequality and low wage growth. The government has now released its industrial strategy to address such issues.