Tag Archives: industrial strategy

12 June 2024 – today’s press releases (Scotland and Wales)

  • Scottish Liberal Democrats call for climate-focused industrial strategy
  • “Free transport the key to fighting child poverty” – Welsh Lib Dems
  • “We cannot fail our children in the fight against racism” – Welsh Lib Dems

Scottish Liberal Democrats call for climate-focused industrial strategy

Scottish Liberal Democrat deputy leader Wendy Chamberlain today laid out her party’s plans for a new industrial strategy “which has tackling the climate emergency at its heart” during a visit to a clean power-start up.

Wendy Chamberlain was at PlusZero, a Harris-based company specialising in the production, distribution and operation of green hydrogen.

The Scottish Liberal Democrats would support science, research and innovation, particularly among small businesses and start-ups with an interest in zero-carbon and environmental technologies, by:

  • Investing in energy storage, including green hydrogen, pumped storage and battery capability;
  • Continuing to participate in Horizon Europe and joining the European Innovation Council, both of which have a big focus on hydrogen as a breakthrough technology;
  • Aiming for at least 3% of GDP to be invested in research and development by 2030;
  • Improving joint ministerial work on new cross-cutting policies such as the UK industrial strategy.

Wendy Chamberlain said:

The UK can lead the world with innovation and ingenuity. Liberal Democrats will put tackling the climate emergency at the heart of a new industrial strategy, cutting emissions and driving a strong economic recovery.

Businesses and entrepreneurs should be supported to create clean well-paid jobs in every part of Scotland.

While other parties abandon their climate commitments, only the Scottish Liberal Democrats have a plan that can give businesses the certainty they need to invest in products and unlock their global potential.

We need to seize the economic opportunities of net zero now. We simply can’t afford for the UK to be left behind on green skills and the industries of the future.

“Free transport the key to fighting child poverty” – Welsh Lib Dems

This week in the Senedd, the Welsh Liberal Democrats have reiterated their calls for free public transport for everyone under the age of 25.

A recent report from the Senedd Petitions Committee highlighted the positive impact that affordable transport could have towards fighting child poverty.

According to the report, public transport fares in Wales have skyrocketed up to 74% over a 10-year period.

The Welsh Liberal Democrats have claimed that, because most under-18s rely on buses and trains, exorbitant costs are barring access to education, jobs, and essential activities.

Speaking in the Siambr, party leader Jane Dodds MS citied the free bus scheme in Scotland as an example of the positive benefits that free public transport can have.

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Made in Britain

In a factory in rural Durham, the government’s commitment to ‘levelling up’ and to manufacturing industry is being tested to destruction. The Hitachi railway manufacturing plant, employing 700 and thousands more in the supply chain, is threatened with closure. Procrastination over HS2, lack of joined up planning for the railway industry and Covid’s negative effect on travel have, together, led to a three-year gap in the company’s order book. The Japanese owners cannot realistically be expected to mothball the plant for three years and so it will most likely close.

I got to visit the plant (along with Lib Dem candidates including Aidan King the prospective Mayor for the North East). I went the day after Keir Starmer had been on a well-publicised visit, making reassuring, if non-committal, comments about the future of the plant under Labour. For me, the visit had deeper significance. A decade ago, I had opened the plant: then, a tent in a muddy field. Attracting Hitachi to build trains in Britain was one of the successes of the Coalition’s Industrial Strategy and, until very recently, it seemed to be an inspired investment decision for Hitachi.

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LibLink: Vince Cable on industrial strategy

Vince Cable has been writing at CommentCentral under the headline: Industrial strategy is vital to boosting growth. He bemoans the closure of blast furnaces in Port Talbot and Scunthorpe.

He says:

The closures seem to be a mockery of the optimistic story about a future based on green jobs since the closures are prompted by a wish to move the industry onto a less energy and carbon intensive (and more modest) footing, using electric arc furnaces to turn scrap back into steel. The government is putting in £1 billion to help finance the transition.

But critics point to a dearth of constructive ideas for the industry. Britain produces 10 million tonnes of scrap steel a year, less than a third of which is currently recycled (the rest being exported and recycled elsewhere), so why are there no plans to boost domestic production? Why are there no plans to use hydrogen as a reducing agent in updated blast furnaces making use of Britain’s resources of offshore wind to generate ‘green’ hydrogen through electrolysis? Where is the strategy?

He compares the UK with countries such Japan, China, Germany and Israel and praises their industrial strategy.

After a brief flurry of free market discipline, the Coalition was soon forced into reactive intervention to stop large factory closures. I decided to launch a comprehensive, sector based, industrial strategy. Conservative colleagues went along with it, some reluctantly. There was positive engagement from business – and trades unions – and in sectors like vehicles, aerospace, life sciences and creative industries. there were industry-wide strategies that were acted upon.

To my pleasant surprise, Theresa May kept and developed the industrial strategy, under Greg Clark. It couldn’t last. With Boris Johnson came ‘f**k business’ and also pathological short-termism (though Dominic Cummings managed to get the DARPA ‘moon-shot’ project launched). Truss and her free-market fundamentalists like Rees Mogg and Kwarteng had no time for ‘industrial strategy’.

Sunak seems to be going down the same path. In contrast Labour is keen to give industrial policy a central position.

He concludes:

I like to claim that industrial strategy was one of the Lib Dems’ big but unsung achievements in the Coalition government. But industrial strategy depends on shared, cross-party ownership. In that spirit, I would like to see Jeremy Hunt using his Autumn Statement to give his support to industrial strategy as part of his programme for boosting growth.

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29 November 2021 – today’s press release

PM must stop sale of vaccine manufacturing centre

The Liberal Democrats have demanded that Boris Johnson immediately steps in to halt the sale of the Vaccine Manufacturing Innovation Centre at Harwell near Oxford, describing the move as “short-sighted penny pinching.”

It was reported this morning that the centre is being sold off to recoup some of the money invested by the Government.

On a visit to the centre last year, Boris Johnson claimed that the new vaccine centre “will be able to manufacture enough vaccine doses for the whole UK population… which would transform how we beat this virus and prepare for future …

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Vince Cable and Chuka Umunna criticise Government’s industrial strategy in Independent article

Vince Cable has teamed up with Chuka Umunna in an Independent article that warns of the likely consequences if Vince’s former department of Business, Innovation and Skills suffers the massive cuts predicted. It’s not a protected department, so its budget could be cut by up to 40%. That would make it difficult to continue Vince’s successful industrial strategy:

One of the positive legacies of the Coalition government was the establishment of an ‘industrial strategy’ with the same objectives. It was successful in attracting a lot of support from business in general and in key sectors like automotive, aerospace, bio-tech, creative industries, energy and railway supply chains and construction. In vehicles and aerospace, especially, a large amount of private sector and government money was committed to R&D. The approach was flexible, accommodating and welcoming of disruptive technologies and the emergence of new industries. Before the election, the Conservatives, Labour, Lib Dems (and the SNP) subscribed to the industrial strategy.

There has been a deafening silence since. We are now past the first 100 days: the government’s honeymoon. There is no excuse for lack of clarity over a key area of government policy. There may be an innocent explanation: a wish by the Conservative government to rebrand the industrial strategy as part of its ‘Long Term Economic Plan’, while work quietly proceeds in the background. A more worrying possibility is that the ideologues in government have got their teeth into it believing, against all previous experience, that market failures will correct themselves and that the UK economy will achieve balanced, sustained, recovery thanks to resurgent banking and app start-ups in Shoreditch.

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Liz Lynne writes: Making the industrial strategy work in the Midlands

jaguarFor years people have been writing off our UK manufacturing industry and underplaying the part it plays in boosting the economy. In my view there has been too much emphasis on the service sector and not enough on manufacturing. I am therefore delighted about the announcement in the Autumn Statement on Capital Allowances. It is something that many people in industry have been calling for for years. By raising the allowance tenfold from £25,000 to £250,000, the government is encouraging investment in new plant and machinery, and providing an incentive for profitable manufacturers to invest in new capacity. This is a government decision that will create new long term jobs.

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Ian Swales MP writes… Making the industrial strategy work on Teesside

The chemical industry is vital to the UK.  It is already the biggest export business in the UK at £43 bn. However imports have risen after various shut downs, and the amount we are importing is, in my view, unnecessarily high.  There are major opportunities for new investment to bring production of key materials back into the UK and bring jobs, growth and expertise with it.

My constituency of Redcar is part of an area which has traditionally been a hub of the UK chemical industry. Chemicals are key

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Gordon Birtwistle writes…Making the industrial strategy work in Burnley

Aerospace manufacturing is a huge contributor to the economic make up of Burnley, a town steeped in manufacturing tradition. International aerospace manufacturers Aircelle are at the forefront of high tech manufacturing for the aerospace industry and are a great provider of jobs and wealth to the local and national economy.

Burnley has benefited well from all three rounds of the Regional Growth Fund (RGF). The government has awarded £1.8m to the redevelopment of the old Michelin site into a brand new state of the art Aerospace Supply Chain Park. The bid was put forward by a consortium headed up by Aircelle …

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IPPR: making the Third Wave of Globalisation work for us all

A new report by the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR), headed by a foreword by Lord Peter Mandleson, takes an in-depth look at the positive and negative impacts of the increased internationalisation of trade – what they characterise as the Third Wave of Globalisation.

IPPR’s Will Straw and Alex Glennie set out how the modern increase in global commerce is distinct from those seen around the Industrial Revolution and World War II that were dominated by the UK and the USA respectively. Today’s growth in global trade is lead by developing economies in the East with a …

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