Government’s latest attempt at an ‘industrial strategy’ looks good on paper but still lacks some fundamentals needed to turn the UK into Singapore without the sunshine.
This is the view of Michele Wietscher, Director of Newview Windows and Conservatories – a home improvement company based in Worthing.
Theresa May’s announcement is designed to boost the UK economy post-Brexit and comes at a time when regional leaders across the UK are mapping out their own regional strategies.
The strategy includes a commitment to invest in science, research and innovation; a new emphasis on vocational skills for non-graduates and investment in the poorer regions of the country.
But Michele says that although it included sensible ideas, it lacked three key fundamentals that are necessary to boost productivity in the UK economy.
She comments: “It’s clear our decision to leave the European Union has injected a new urgency into the debate about what kind of country we want the UK to be; and the Prime Minister’s new industrial strategy looks great on paper but as history show us, many strategies have come and gone over the year with few making a major impact.”
Michelle continues: “What I would have liked to have seen alongside the big-ticket items is a plan to tackle the UK’s housebuilding crisis, as the country fell well below its 2016 target of 240,000 homes. Secondly, I would have expected more focus on the need to equip students with business skills and thinking at an earlier age. There was an emphasis on vocational skills for non-graduates but I believe it needs to go further.”
The third issue that Michele would have liked to have seen mentioned was a plan to upgrade infrastructure and digital communications across the UK.
She comments: “With base interest rates so low, the last few years would have been ideal for big infrastructure spending. We’re getting there but the planning system is still too clunky and in some parts of the UK we have worse mobile coverage than the third world. You would have expected this to have been made central to the plan.”
Michelle also says that she would have liked to have seen action taken to re-balance the tax-system to a flatter rate system, that encourages entrepreneurship and risk-taking.
Newview operate across the retail, commercial and trade markets and counts companies such as Network Rail and Heathrow as clients.