Regions are becoming clearer on specific sectors for investment and growth as local industrial strategies are launched in the West Midlands and Greater Manchester.
Secretary of State, Rt Hon Greg Clark last week praised Greater Manchester as an inspiring force behind the National Industrial Strategy. It is true to say that the economy of the region is one of the most diverse in the country, which in turn, makes it one of the most resilient.
Launching its Local Industrial Strategy, Greater Manchester is part of the first wave of trailblazer areas coming forward with local delivery plans to meet the challenge set by government to deliver growth and productivity.
Following the launch of the West Midlands Industrial Strategy last month, we can now get a sense of how each region is uniquely placed to make its contribution to boosting national productivity. Cambridge-Milton Keynes-Oxford Corridor will likely be next, with strategies for other LEPs across the UK to follow.
These local strategies support the government’s National Industrial Strategy, launched in the 2017 white paper, Building a Britain fit for the future. It is intended to be a blueprint for how regions can drive growth, productivity and boost individuals’ income.
Built on the foundation of a solid evidence base, Greater Manchester’s Local Industrial Strategy is clear on the regions’ strengths which provides a springboard for growth. Sector focuses are health innovation, advanced materials and manufacturing as well as creative, digital and media.
Identifying the comparative advantage in a particular industry or mix of industries in each is at the heart of the devolved approach to compiling a single Industrial Strategy for the UK. West Midlands has carved out a clear niche with a focus on the automotive, life science, creative and media sectors.
It will now fall to businesses and enterprises across the city regions to harness the funding and support that will focus on these specific sectors. So, we look to Greater Manchester to gauge the impact the launch of this strategy has on health innovation and advanced manufacturing and, of course, how other sectors can navigate growth alongside.