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Industrial strategy focused on driving local economic growth and productivity

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has responded to the release of the Government’s Green Paper “Building our Industrial Strategy”.

Gordon Millward, regional chairman, said: “The 132-page Green Paper published today is the start of an economic blueprint for the UK. FSB members are based in every local area of the country, and so from a first look at the full publication we are pleased that the approach avoids being top-down, but instead is formed around driving local economic growth and productivity. 

“The track record of previous governments in picking winners is not a happy one so it is right that the focus has moved away from backing incumbent industry giants. We welcome the news of an Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund to boost research and innovation.

“Small businesses will be especially pleased to see the promise to boost technical education as an attractive alternative to University, and a proper strategy to improve careers advice in schools and colleges. These meet a challenge long felt by small employers who struggle to find the right skills for their workforce. 

“FSB is encouraged by the pledge to produce a long-term road map to minimise business energy costs in 2017. And given the focus on local growth and investment, we welcome the commitment to review the role of Local Enterprise Partnerships, sharing best practice and strengthening them.

“We are concerned that policymakers remain focused on start-ups and scale-ups, and will be joining the consultation to back moderate-growth firms. We want the UK to be the best place in the world to start-up, run and grow a business and we will press the Government to strengthen its resolve on this. 

“With the right moves on the tax system, on supply chain management, and on elements in a locally-driven Industrial Strategy that improves skills policy, infrastructure delivery, connectivity and public procurement, the UK could indeed be the best in the world.”

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