UK's new Industrial Strategy: Analysis of the Sectors it Affects

On the 23rd January, Prime Minister Theresa May unveiled the Government’s new industrial strategy at her first regional Cabinet meeting in Cheshire.

In the wake of post-Brexit fears and the poor performance of specific sectors in the UK market, May used this meeting to reinforce the Conservative’s £556 ‘Northern Powerhouse’ scheme and provide backing in the areas in which our economy needs it the most.

Per region, the funding was divided as below, but notably the scheme brings great news to some sectors in particular, namely transport, hospitality, life sciences, environmental and manufacturing.

Local Enterprise Partnership


Funding Awarded


North Eastern

£49.7 million


£12.7 million

Tees Valley

£21.8 million

York, North Yorkshire, East Riding

£23.7 million


£69.8 million


£27.9 million

Leeds City Region

£67.5 million

Liverpool City Region

£72.0 million

Greater Manchester

£130.1 million

Sheffield City Region

£37.8 million

Cheshire and Warrington

£43.3 million


But what about the industrial strategy? What does this mean for UK business, and for any particular sectors within the market?

Let’s take a look at the major talking points:

  • Biggest increase in public spending on research and development (R&D) since 1979.
  • High-tech research given priority to benefit the economy in terms of productivity and wage growth, both of which have suffered since the financial crisis of 08-09. 
  • Creative sector one of five industries that could benefit from ‘sector deals’ that, like with the Northern Powerhouse scheme, will involve significant investment in R&D in a bid to “support the industries of the future where Britain has the potential to lead the world.” 
    • The other four industries? Life sciences, low-carbon-emission vehicles, industrial digitalisation and nuclear.
  • Challenge Fund to offer support for smart energy technologies, robotics & artificial intelligence (AI) and 5G mobile network technologies.

Many of these developments come as part of a drastic change in direction from the government. Under Cameron, the Conservative Government took more of a ‘hands-off’ approach to encouraging the growth of UK business, but in her relatively short tenure as PM, Theresa May has already changed things up and decided to get much more involved.

The Prime Minister also stated that the government would consider creating institutions to boost skills or research, and even go about implementing deregulations if shown this would help address problems in the industries selected for investment.

Beyond these developments in designated fields, the government aim to boost the number of skilled workers in a wide range of industries by shifting focus to school-leavers who opt not to go to university. Maintenance loans, creation of institutes of technology in each region, and 15 core technical ‘routes’ most needed by employers in each region will be created to make available to young people – changes that May hopes will address our skill shortage problem in the UK.

But does the strategy offer enough? Will it make a difference, and have the Government targeted the right areas? Have your say on how you believe the industrial strategy will impact your sector and business by reaching out to us on social media. Tweet us at @Volt_eu_com or find us on Facebook and LinkedIn.

Image courtesy of flickr.

Topics: News