Going for Growth

Posted on 7 Jan 2010 by The Manufacturer

Government has today released a summary strategy document which explains how Britain is to emerge from recession and take its place at the vanguard of world industry.

Going for Growth: Our Future Prosperity does not contain any previously unannounced initiatives; it is more of an update on the measures detailed in last Spring’s New Industry New Jobs report and any other growth related initiatives announced since then. It involves seven key areas:

  • Supporting enterprise and entrepreneurial activity
  • Fostering knowledge creation and its innovative application
  • Helping people develop the skills and capabilities to reach their personal and economic potential
  • Investing in the infrastructure required to support a low carbon modern economy
  • Ensuring open and competitive markets allowing business to grow
  • Building on our industrial strengths in sectors where we have expertise and investing to foster new comparative advantage
  • Understanding and employing the right strategic role for government in markets enabling us to capitalise on new opportunities

There were a couple of new initiatives announced alongside Going for Growth though. There will be £70M of new funding under the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council manufacturing research centres based at universities in Southampton (focusing on optical fibres), Loughborough (regenerative medicine), and Brunel (liquid metals).

In addition, the Technology Strategy Board also announced £38.5m of funding in nearly 260 new R&D projects in four areas: Carbon Abatement Technologies; Low Carbon Vehicles; High Value Manufacturing; and Feasibility Studies in areas such as Digital Britain, Regenerative Medicine, Advanced Materials; Biosciences; Electronics, Photonics and Electrical Systems, Information & Communication Technology and Nanotechnology.

The ‘new’ strategy was unveiled at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills’ Conference centre this afternoon where both the Prime Minister and the business secretary spoke.

“We must now match the bold and decisive action we have taken on the recession with a similarly radical approach to deliver renewed growth and opportunity,” said Gordon Brown. “Growth is not only key to prosperity and jobs – but also to rebuilding the revenues for safeguarding the public services on which we all rely. The growth strategy shows how we will support and unleash the entrepreneurial, innovative and dynamic talents we know we have in Britain.”

Click here for links to the strategy itself and a summary document, both available as PDFs.

The strategy was preceded in an ethos explaining speech by Mandelson at The Work Foundation in Westminster yesterday.

Britain needs two plans, Mandelson said: a deficit reduction plan and a growth plan. December’s Pre Budget Report is the basis of the former while today’s Going for Growth is a description of the latter.

“…how we create future jobs won’t be the same as in the past,” Mandelson maintained. “We will turn new technologies into jobs, like those in digital and biotechnologies. We will commercialise the output of our hugely successful science and research base. We will turn low carbon into business and employment opportunities.

“Other governments are actively investing in their industrial strength,” he added. “We have to do the same.”
Mandelson conceded a charge oft levelled at the Government since the start of the recession; that New Labour placed an unhealthy reliance on financial industries, to the detriment of other industries and to Britain as a whole, the effects of which have ultimately led to the expectation of public debt reaching 78 per cent of GDP by 2015 and unemployment peaking at just under three million in the middle of this year.

“That is why, without wishing the financial sector to be smaller, we need other industrial strengths and sources of revenue to grow faster,” said Mandelson.