back to article Gov's industrial strategy: 'Look, we've changed the words above our door'

We know the government is serious about an industrial strategy because it renamed the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. Unfortunately, five months on that's still just about all we know. More details are expected in the Autumn Statement today. …

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"[We've heard] vague terminology," said Mark Littlewood, Director General at the Institute of Economic Affairs. "The talk about a horizontal industrial strategy [is to] my mind just economic policy. My horizontal industrial strategy is to slash tax and remove a lot of the regulatory burden on businesses."

Shall we rename the Institute of Economic Affairs to 'I want to eat your cake and have mine too'?

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Not surprising that the Hayek inspired IEA are calling for a slashing of regulation as that is their only strategy. Worked for the banks didn't it?

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"Shall we rename the Institute of Economic Affairs to 'I want to eat your cake and have mine too'?"

Isn't that BoJo's motto?

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I think they were at school together.

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Facepalm

May's Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund to back priority technologies – such as robotics and biotechnology

Really?

Of all the technologies that the government could be funding, those are considered a priority?

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Anonymous Coward

Well how else will her lizard overlords take over the country?

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Alien

I thought she was a lizard overlord.

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"Unlike Cadbury, which closed its UK factory, he said the business would retain and grow its HQ and operations in Blighty."

The latter part being substantially the same as was said at the time of the Cadbury takeover. Only time will tell.

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The arm takeover is entirely different form Cadbury's

I doubt that ARM has an extravagantly funded workers pension fund that can be raided

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"it renamed the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy."

Having got two of the tricky bits out of the title does it mean they're going to do something about them?

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"Having got two of the tricky bits out of the title does it mean they're going to do something about them?"

Would be nice, wouldn't it?

Governments can't really do business which needs to move faster and under less scrutiny.

It should be having a go at the things business can't do because they can't handle the long-term thinking and the responsibility.

Which in this area would be making more people with the right sort of skills to produce the whatever-it-is-we-haven't-thought-of-yet*.

Education, education, education, one might glibly say.

*They just have to educate them, they don't have to actually make the people - that part can be successfully outsourced, one of the few processes where unskilled labour on zero-hours contracts can produce perfectly acceptable results even if the customer survey responses don't rate the process particularly highly.

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Energy "Strategy"

I thought that was just sell off energy infrastructure to foreign companies with no contractual obligation to actually provide decent reserve capacity for cold snowcopalypse style scenarios.

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Re: Energy "Strategy"

No worries - the invisible hand will keep you warm.

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Re: Energy "Strategy"

Which is just as well as the visible hand will no longer be able to warm one as effectively thanks to the clamp down on exotic smut.

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But according to May: "It's not about propping up failing industry or picking winners, but creating the conditions where winners can emerge and grow."

Right. And you can do that, can you? When you can't even balance your own books?

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"The beginning of wisdom is to call things their proper names"

Allegedly a Chinese proverb based on the writing of Confucious (source: Quora). He seems to have summed things up pretty well (apart from the references to "man"):

"A superior man, in regard to what he does not know, shows a cautious reserve. If names be not correct, language is not in accordance with the truth of things. If language be not in accordance with the truth of things, affairs cannot be carried on to success. When affairs cannot be carried on to success, proprieties and music do not flourish. When proprieties and music do not flourish, punishments will not be properly awarded. When punishments are not properly awarded, the people do not know how to move hand or foot. Therefore a superior man considers it necessary that the names he uses may be spoken appropriately, and also that what he speaks may be carried out appropriately. What the superior man requires is just that in his words there may be nothing incorrect."

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Re: "The beginning of wisdom is to call things their proper names"

I'll counter your (possibly-)Confucian quote with a mis-remembered Yes, Minister quote along the lines of:

You get the tricky parts out of the way in the title, and never have to refer to them again.

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That photo

Is Dr Who working for the government now?

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I thought our industrial strategy was to bribe the japanese to keep making cars here.

Oh - and also to shout about how the weak pound makes exporting more competitive.

Oh - and selling explosive things to those parts of the world that seem to be forever blowing things up.

Unfortunately the gov appears to have missed the O level economics lesson where they would have learned that a falling pound actually kills many exporters when their unit costs go through the roof because of all that imported stuff you need to make the exported stuff (like for example all your tech and raw materials) going up in price.

Of course a lot of that stuff is priced in $US so I'm guessing that our economic and industrial strategy right now is to hope that Trumpton hits the skids - pretty slim chance given that those guys up on Capitol Hill have a keen understanding of how the green is grown and years of experience in telling the most powerful man in the world to go f**k himself.

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The Government should be wary about resuscitating an Industrial Strategy

It is the job of Government to foster an environment which causes the Private Sector to innovate, grow, create jobs and make a profit. It is not the job of Government to create jobs.

It is the misinterpretation of this responsibility, on the part of some well-meaning people that has persuaded them to resuscitate the idea of an Industrial Strategy, which entails the Government intervening in the market with public funds, to stimulate economic activity and boost export-led growth.

However, this means that people in the pay of the State get to choose which industry sector receives the subsidy, and which does not – leaving them exposed to the charge of favouring the privileged few at the expense of the many, and also skewing the market in favour of the same selected few, for decades to come.

Additionally, there exists an extremely high risk that public funds committed in this way will not deliver the return on investment as advertised, or worse still, squandered altogether because:

(a) Civil servants in Whitehall who are charged with negotiating the contract details are ill-equipped to deal with the Private Sector, which means that they will be duped into spending taxpayers’ money on poorly conceived projects – only for this to come to light years later, when some Select Committee of the House of Commons produces a report on its findings.

(b) The internal business process used to select recipients for State aid is susceptible to manipulation and distortion by parliamentary lobbyists in the pay of those who can afford to spend the most.

(c) It is certain that the final decision on the choice of recipients, which is in the hands of the governing elite will be made, not in the national interest but to serve the interests of career politicians.

So until these fundamental problems are addressed and dealt with, the Government should be wary about resuscitating an Industrial Strategy.

@JagPatel3 on twitter

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Dead Dove

At first I read the byline as "any rabbits in Hammond's hat, or just a dead Gove?"

Imagine my disappointment...

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