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Editor's Blog and Industry Comments

CBI responds to UK Business Secretary's vision of an industrial strategy

14 September, 2012
The CBI has commented on the Business Secretary’s speech in which he outlined his vision for the future of British industry.

John Cridland, CBI Director-General, said: “British business has been challenging the Government to put in place firm foundations on which our companies can build their long-term futures and rebalance our economy.

“The UK is a world leader in many sectors and if we are to secure significant growth in the decades to come, the Government must enable them to capitalise on their competitive advantages and stay ahead of international rivals.

“Politicians of all persuasions need a laser-like focus to provide a stable and supportive policy environment. Today’s commitment from the Business Secretary is a valuable first step on this critical path to future success.”

On the creation of a new institution to help companies invest in capital: “Our small and medium-sized businesses are often those with the greatest potential to grow, but this has been hampered by tougher regulation on banks and lending has been restricted.

“The Government has introduced a number of funding schemes to assist smaller businesses, so to help them make best use of these, a business bank that acts as a ‘one-stop shop’ for these initiatives is a priority.

“While we don’t believe a state bank lending directly is necessary, there is a critical need for an aggregation platform which bundles loans to kick-start a bond market for medium-sized businesses and provide new alternatives to traditional bank financing.”

On developing a series of sector-specific strategies: “Building on our existing strengths is at the heart of a successful Industrial Strategy which makes a renewed emphasis on sectors critical. These are the areas with the greatest potential for growth. The global playing field isn’t level and we need to work hard to convert our competitive advantages into future success.

“Businesses want to see a long-term strategic focus from the Government, and we welcome the news that partnership strategies will be devised for key areas including creative industries, automotive and green energy.”

On the results of the first round of the Employer Ownership Pilot (EOP), which will see £67m invested in designing vocational training programmes: “The first successful applications for the employer ownership pilot highlight the potential of this new scheme.

“Businesses are best placed to understand their own training needs, so putting funding into the hands of employers is the right thing to do. Employer ownership will also help nurture strong training networks in local areas and supply chains, encouraging more employers to get involved.

“Business already invests around £49 billion every year in worker training programmes, and the pilots will enable them to offer more innovative and relevant training for their workforces.”

On improving the journey from academic research to commercial product: “The Government needs to be bold in backing innovation as this will be a main source of future growth. The Technology Strategy Board is central to this and needs to create a critical mass of activity where the UK has the ability to develop competitive advantages.

“The UK is a world leader in research and we must use the strong links we have fostered between our science base and industry to forge the foundations for our economic future.”

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