Five key 'calls to action' for Industrial Strategy proposal

industrial strategy PR

30 March 2017

  • Aston University’s Professor David Bailey co-ordinates response of eight industry and regional policy experts to the Government’s consultation on the Industrial Strategy Green Paper 

Industry and regional policy experts from across the UK have set out five key ‘calls to action’ in response to the Government’s consultation on the Industrial Strategy Green Paper.

The proposal, co-ordinated by Professor David Bailey at Aston University, argues that ‘any new industrial strategy for the UK needs to link places, sectors and technologies and have a commitment of resources requisite to meet the scale of the challenge that the UK faces’.

It was submitted on behalf of the Regional Studies Association, a major international learned society that is concerned with the analysis of regions and regional issues. It features contributions from a total of eight specialists in industrial strategy and regional policy from several universities as well as the Regional Studies Association.

The key ‘calls to action’ are:

  1. The UK needs to embrace opportunities offered by the Fourth Industrial Revolution (‘Industry 4.0’) for manufacturing and services, which is critical for the UK’s international competitiveness going forward.

  2. Industrial Strategy needs to think beyond sectors alone. It needs to identify, nurture and diffuse the key cross-cutting technologies (e.g. digitalisation, internet of things, robotics and artificial intelligence) that have a ‘general purpose technology’ role across manufacturing and services.

  3. Linked to this, industrial strategy needs to recognise and exploit such technologies by making them accessible to businesses in different regions.

  4. To do this, industrial strategy needs to be developed regionally in a holistic sense (for example on skills, access to finance, clusters, supply chains and innovation) so as to enable policy to be better suited to the distinctive characteristics and advantages of different places. A key objective of such an approach should be to promote the tradable base of each region in the UK. 

  5. There needs to be a meso-regional scale to industrial strategy bringing together sectors, technologies and place. The current geographical set up of LEPs is too limited and fragmented. This meso-regional scale can usefully build on developments in terms of Combined Authorities and initiatives such as the ‘Midlands Engine.’ (e.g. in connecting elements of a regional industrial strategy such as on supply chains and clusters). 


Notes to the editor

Expert interviewee: Professor David Bailey

  • Professor David Bailey is an influential business expert on economic restructuring and industrial policy. He is perhaps best known for his knowledge of UK and West Midlands car manufacturing. David regularly provides commentary on economic and regional policy issues including the closure and reopening of MG Rover plant in Birmingham, and the Jaguar Land Rover economic success story.
  • For interview requests, please contact the press office using the details below.

About Aston University

  • Founded in 1895 and a University since 1966, Aston University has been always been a force for change. For more than 50 years the University has been transforming lives through pioneering research, innovative teaching and graduate employability success. Aston is renowned for its opportunity enabler through broad access and inspiring academics, providing education that is applied and has real impact on all areas of society, business and industry. True to Aston’s Coat of Arms which bears the word ‘Forward’, in 2016 Aston recently held a year-long anniversary celebration to recognise its heritage and achievements, but with a focus to drive forward the next stage in the University’s exciting journey. 

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