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Industrial strategy must start with a strategic vision say engineers

Europe’s largest group of engineers is calling on the Government to ensure its forthcoming industrial strategy is developed on the basis of a strategic vision which sets out in the long term what it aims to achieve and why, rather than simply detailing ad-hoc policy actions.

The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) 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. A long term approach must be taken with defined milestones and it must be embedded across all of government.

Prof Steve Evans, Chair of the IET’s Manufacturing Policy Panel, said: "A successful industrial strategy must define the ‘what’ and ‘why’, rather than just the ‘how’. 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 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.

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