The IET has urged the government to ensure its forthcoming industrial strategy is developed on the basis of a strategic vision.
The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET), Europe’s largest group of engineers, has outlined four key pillars which it believes should form the basis of a successful national industrial strategy.
An industrial strategy must have a defined vision with strategic objectives and sound and accessible analysis to back up the rationale for this vision, it said.
A long-term approach must be taken with defined milestones and it must be embedded across all of government.
“A successful industrial strategy must define the ‘what’ and ‘why’, rather than just the ‘how’," said Professor Steve Evans, chair of the IET’s Manufacturing Policy Panel. “This is a crucial and important separation, and one which is often conflated. Strategic vision must be clearly set out before industrial policy decisions are taken. When industrial policy decisions are made without a strategic underpinning, the risk of such policies failing is maximised.
“Such an approach also creates the conditions for overt and unjustified political intervention, where the ‘why’ and ‘what’ of a strategy gets decided by short-term aims. In such circumstances policy can fall victim to being decided on supporting, among other things, those who shout the loudest.”
The IET said the economic downturn highlighted the UK’s dependence on financial services and domestic consumption for economic growth.
Rebalancing the economy by growing other sectors through an increase in net trade and investment is a crucial step in ending this over reliance, and growing a more resilient economy, it added.