Industrial Strategy for the Public Good

Since the Crash in 07/08, industrial strategy in the UK has seen a renaissance as a legitimate area for policy activity. It had been out of fashion since the 70s and had no significant place in a policy world where markets were generally deemed the answer. It had been concluded that Government can’t ‘pick winners’, with the failure of Concorde being the final nail in the coffin.

With Brexit looming, maybe it has even more policy prominence as we look for hope in this brave new world. Certainly all assessments of the current state of our economy outside the golden mile tend to be pretty damning.

The aim of the current Government’s industrial strategy is “to boost productivity by backing businesses to create good jobs and increase the earning power of people throughout the UK with investment in skills, industries and infrastructure”.

This raises many questions but the one we want to focus on is the public goal of industrial strategy. Here the headline public goal is delivering ‘good jobs and increased earning power of people throughout the UK’. Is this the right one? If not, what should it be and how should it be determined? How would a different public goal affect the nature of industrial strategy?

Victoria Chick, emeritus professor of economics at UCL and Josh Ryan-Collins, head of research at the Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose present their viewpoints for discussion.

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