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