Mike Thornton, head of manufacturing at RSM, said:
‘Set against the backdrop of a weaker growth forecast for the UK and uncertainty around Brexit, there is a heightened need to tackle, and improve, productivity to drive innovation and exports.
‘The government’s Industrial Strategy maps out a framework to support key growth sectors, including construction, artificial intelligence (AI), automotive and life sciences. Although ambitious, if we get it right and the UK becomes a leading hub for all or some of these sectors, there is a huge opportunity for the UK.
‘The Industrial Strategy is welcome news. However, given the scale of the challenge, investment of £725m is unlikely to be enough and the competition for cash will be high across a broad range of sectors. It will be interesting to see whether the government has the financial clout to deliver this strategy against a backdrop of continued austerity.
‘Many will question the timing of the announcement due to Brexit uncertainty, but the consequences of not maximising the industrial opportunity now would be more problematic for the UK in the long run.’