December 7, 2016

The New Industrial Strategy

Under Theresa May’s leadership, the Government has signalled an intention to develop a new Industrial Strategy – but there has been much less clarity about what this should mean in practice.

Today, too many people worry that globalisation and the modern world do not work for them. Britain’s ‘Just About Managing’ majority is pessimistic about our economic future, believing the best now lies behind us. The overriding goal of a new Industrial Strategy should be to create an economy in which everyone can look forward to the future.

Globalisation has been good for the world and for Britain. It is understandable, however, why many people have become increasingly pessimistic:

  • Productivity and real household incomes have been stagnant for over a decade.
  • Many parts of Britain have not shared in the same success seen in London and the South East.
  • While innovation is alive or accelerating in the digital world, in the physical world there are fears it may be stagnating.
  • The cost of living and household bills continue to increase, but voters aren’t confident that this is really delivering environmental sustainability.

Over the next year, Policy Exchange will be undertaking an extensive programme of work to better understand how to create a modern industrial strategy.

In this scoping paper, we look at the big questions surrounding a new Industrial Strategy:

  • What is an Industrial Strategy? What lessons can we draw from past successes and failures? What types of policies work, and what don’t?
  • What are the UK’s economic strengths and weaknesses? What future trends will create new opportunities or threats?
  • What are the deeper causes behind Britain’s economic challenges? Why does British productivity lag so much behind its peers, or the distribution of its cities seem so unbalanced?
  • What shape should a new Industrial Strategy take? Could we turn Britain into the most innovative economy in the world? How do we ensure any new Industrial Strategy is green?


Jonathan Dupont

Economic & Social Policy Research Fellow

Richard Howard

Director of Development & Head of Environment & Energy

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