There’s a common misunderstanding about the Government’s industrial strategy. It’s not a throwback to the 1970s and it’s not about picking winners. Instead, it’s closely tied to Brexit, in three ways.
First, all the time we’re still a member of the EU, the Government can’t pick winners, even if it wanted to, because of state aid rules. Second, the Industrial Strategy is about preparing the economy for Brexit through legal tax breaks and Government incentives that can also be ramped up the day we leave. And third, those benefits will be designed for areas with lots of marginal seats, to help protect the Government against the wave of electoral populism that’s crashing over traditional parties around the world.
University towns and towns close to the M1 corridor are set to gain. So are industries that can invest in tax-efficient R&D for tech innovations in line with upcoming policy changes – like driverless cars, personalised medicines, and fintech. The Government will publish its Industrial Strategy Green Paper shortly and then a White Paper in 2017.