“I’m very confident it will survive.”
That’s Vince Cable’s prediction about the future of his industrial strategy after the next election.
Responding to pleas from manufacturing bosses who say they need clarity on policies before making investment decisions, the business secretary has established several long-term plans for industry covering manufacturing, training, research and finance.
And after discussions with his counterparts in other parties he believes the strategy itself has long distance legs.
He said: “I’m very confident it would survive an election. I have had explicit promises from my opposite number in the Conservative party and Labour’s Chuka Umunna.
“Their agreement is a symptom of the fact that we still have a lot of work to do. We are no longer in crisis but the economy is still unbalanced and we need to grow exports.
“We are trying hard and are having some success in China, India and Russia - but that is more than offset by the difficulties of selling into Europe. Manufacturers are crucial, they supply over half the exports and almost all of the R&D taking place and they still employ a lot of people.”
He also said visiting factories such as AESSEAL - a gleaming showcase of advanced manufacturing - was vitally important.
“It’s crucial to me to get out of the Westminster bubble of politicians, civil servants and the media and engage with what’s happening in other parts of the country.”
Mr Cable also announced plans for a world-class advanced manufacturing college at the AMRC to close the skills gap between Britain and its competitors.