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Industrial Strategy

Part of Laser Misuse (Vehicles) Bill [Lords] (Programme) – in the House of Commons at 3:40 pm on 18th April 2018.

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Photo of Greg Clark Greg Clark The Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy 3:40 pm, 18th April 2018

I would not read too much into that. The defence industrial strategy is a very important part of our overall strategy. There are many references to industries—I mentioned aerospace—in which the innovation that comes from defence work can have important spillovers for the wider economy. We recognise that across the world, that tends to be the case. The defence sector is very important to the strategy, and when some of the sector deals that I will come on to discuss are agreed, the hon. Gentleman will see that in abundance.

Drawing on input across the United Kingdom, we have an approach that is the distilled wisdom of many different contributors. It is a vision to help businesses raise their productivity performance, which is essential if we are to increase the country’s earning power. If we want to pay ourselves better as a nation and a society, we need to earn the way to do that by creating better-paid jobs and putting our country at the forefront of the industries of the future.

Let me introduce the four grand challenges that we have set out. I mentioned that we are uniquely well placed in this country, having leadership in some of the areas of the future, but we should not take that leadership for granted. We should have a deliberate plan and programme to reinforce that success. The four areas we have set out in the strategy, on advice, are: artificial intelligence and the data-driven economy; clean growth; the future of mobility; and meeting the needs of an ageing society. Those challenges have been identified on the advice of our leading scientists and technologists, and they will be supported by investment from the new industrial strategy challenge fund and matched by commercial investment.

Let us take each of those briefly. We know that, whether in the Alan Turing Institute or in our companies throughout the UK, we have some of the most innovative thinkers and practitioners in AI and the use of data. We already have that reputation, but we need to keep at the forefront of those developments. A big part of the strategy is to recognise that, historically, as all Members know, we have been better at the “R” of R&D than the “D”. We have had brilliant ideas, but sometimes we have let them slip through our fingers and seen them implemented in industrial processes and investments in manufacturing in other countries. A big part of the challenge is therefore not just discovery but applying those discoveries in UK industry.