Local Industrial Strategies set out how areas across the UK are responding to the Industrial Strategy and the direction they believe their local economy should take. The West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) is a pilot area for Local Industrial Strategies and will be one of the first areas in the country to deliver one.
In October 2018 they released a consultation document outlining their vision and the actions they believe need to be taken in order to make it a reality. This document summarises the main areas from this consultation document that the GBCC believe will be of interest to the business community. The consultation closes on the 15th November.
The WMCA’s Local Industrial Strategy outlines what it believes to be key sectors for the local economy and actions it will take to boost productivity and inclusive growth. As a result, the sectors and core areas outlined are likely to receive more support and interventions from local public sector led programmes than those that are not. It is important for local businesses to be aware of these proposals and to respond if they feel they do not match their experience of operating in the region.
The GBCC are currently encouraging businesses to share their feedback on the draft proposals. You can find a summary of the WMCA Local Industrial Strategy proposals and the GBCC’s current positions on them below.
The Industrial Strategy is just that – a strategy. It weaves together various different current and forthcoming policies and programmes from Government into a unified narrative. It clarifies the Government’s priorities for the economy and the direction they want it to take. The Government is calling on businesses to address and respond to the challenges and opportunities outlined within it.
They are inviting organisations and individuals to share their ideas on how the UK can tackle the aforementioned “Grand Challenges” through the Shape Our Future campaign (click here for more detail).
There are a number of areas covered within the Industrial Strategy that may directly or indirectly affect local businesses. Key areas include: Tax & Funding, Skills & People, Transport & Infrastructure and Sector Deals.
There are many elements of the Government’s Industrial Strategy that have been welcomed by the GBCC such as; the importance of tailoring interventions to local need, willingness to engage directly with businesses through sector deals, focus on rectifying regional imbalances, making it easier for businesses to access finance, improving infrastructure and upskilling the workforce.
The challenge for both the Government and the West Midlands Combined Authority will be turning strategy into action and change on the ground. Communication with businesses in the language of business (as opposed to policy makers) will be a crucial component of this. The Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce is ready to support stakeholders in connecting with businesses on this important agenda.
The GBCC is committed to helping businesses boost productivity and explore new markets. We have a range of programmes and services that can help including:
We will continue to keep Chamber members informed about the latest developments with the Industrial Strategy and WMCA Local Industrial Strategy and create opportunities for them to share their views with stakeholders.