Industrial strategy ‘must go further’

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The Government is finally listening to manufacturers on the need for an industrial strategy – but more must be done, according to the Master Cutler.

Business Secretary Vince Cable recently hailed the Government’s long-term plans as he announced new funding to address skills shortages in the UK’s automotive industry.

He revealed six businesses would get £5.4 million to help them win and keep work with big automotive manufacturers.

He said: “Industrial strategy has been at the heart of the recovery over the past two years. We have made long-term commitments across a raft of areas from aerospace to automotive and international education.

“Over £10 billion of public-private investment is making Britain more capable and more competitive. Industrial policy isn’t a short-term fix and the enduring partnerships we have established with businesses will lock in sustainable growth.”

In a speech in May, Master Cutler David Grey urged government to set out a strategy covering infrastructure, skills, energy, taxation and access to markets.

He said yesterday: “This announcement from the Department for Business Innovation and skills is welcome.

“The funding is going directly to businesses who are in a position to commission the necessary training and because they are matching government funding they will ensure that it meets their needs.

“This is a welcome change, but the Government needs to go further. The Skills Funding Agency has a budget in excess of £4 billion a year.

“If government wants to accelerate the growth of manufacturing a lot more funding needs to go directly into businesses.”