Business, Innovation and Skills Committee (BIS) – Inquiry on industrial strategy

View the call for submissions here.

Read the EPC’s response here.


The Business, Innovation and Skills Committee (BIS) launched an inquiry into the Government’s industrial strategy. The inquiry launch followed the inclusion of the term “industrial strategy” into the Department for Business’s name and an indication from the new Prime Minister, Theresa May, that her government will explicitly intervene to support certain parts of the economy.

The call for submissions ran from August to September 2016. The Committee invited written submissions, sent via the Committee’s inquiry page on the following:

(1) What does the Government mean by industrial strategy, and what does the private sector want from one?

(2) How interventionist in the free market should Government be in implementing an industrial strategy, for example in preventing foreign takeovers of UK companies?

(3) What lessons can be learnt from:

• Previous governments’ industrial strategies?
• Other countries’ attempts to develop industrial strategies?

(4) What tensions exist between the objectives of an industrial strategy and the objectives of other policies, and how should the Government address these tensions?

(5) What are the pros and cons of an industrial strategy adopting a sectoral approach?

• Should the Government proactively seek to ‘pick winners’?
• What criteria should be used to identify which sectors are supported?
• Should the Government prop up traditional industries that it considers to be in the national interest?
• If not a sectoral approach, should the industrial strategy have a broader objective, such as improving productivity?

(6) Should the industrial strategy have a geographical emphasis?

• How should an industrial strategy link with devolution initiatives aimed at devolving taxation and decision making away from Westminster?
• What examples are there of interventions from central Government that have successfully supported economic growth away from London and the South East of England?
• How should the industrial strategy work with local authorities and Local Economic Partnerships, reconciling a U.K.-wide strategy and local, regional and devolved nations’ priorities?

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