Tag Archives: industrial policy

Same old Economic Orthodoxy

In 1997, the Labour Party inherited a balanced budget from the Tories and for well over ten years we had Gordon Brown telling us that he had got rid of the boom and bust cycle. By 2009 the deficit had ballooned to £171 billion, higher than during the recessions of the 1980s, the 1990s and even when the Labour party went to the IMF, cap in hand, in 1976 (another fine mess they got us into) put together.

Economic orthodoxy maintained by Labour and and the Tories for the last forty years or so ensures the same economic models: over reliance …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 55 Comments

Steel, nuclear and graphene – a new industrial strategy?

It seems a long time since Vince Cable was leading the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills. During his tenure, one of his greatest achievements was the Industrial Strategy. In automotive, aerospace, nuclear and renewables, long term partnerships and structures had been set up to ensure that UK manufacturing stayed at the cutting edge of R&D and that we grew the skills and capacity to manufacture the next generation of products.

The visit of the Chinese President Xi Jinping to the UK has clarified the new government thinking. Taking three industrial issues in turn:

Steel: everyone knows that steel prices go up and down and competitive advantage changes with exchange rates and oversupply. At a time when the automotive industry in the UK is flourishing, the closure of steel mills demonstrates that government sees no link between a UK steel industry and UK automotive. We can, the argument goes, quite happily import steel at the cheapest price at the time and retain our long term success in automotive. The counter argument is that we will not retain our leadership in the industry if the next generation of cars uses steel technology developed in Germany or China – because other things being equal it would be better to assemble the car closer to the supply chain.

Posted in Op-eds | 16 Comments
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