This post is by Angela Francis, chief advisor on economics and economic development at WWF and GIPC commissioner. The post was first published on Business Green.
Innovation has been a big part of the government’s efforts to shift the dial on the UK’s woeful productivity performance over the past ten years. It will invest £80 billion in R&D by 2027 to catalyse further private sector investment, with the target is to bring overall R&D levels up to 2.4 per cent of GDP (from 1.7 per cent in 2016). But spending on research is not the end government is seeking. Read more
Green Alliance launched the new Tech Task Force earlier this month at an evening reception addressed by Claire Perry MP and the members of the Task Force: HVM Catapult, Innovate UK, Gambica, Schneider Electric and Ramboll. With it, we are setting out to make sure digital technologies help to close the north-south divide and make the UK a greener and more prosperous place for everyone. That optimistic vision runs counter to recent headlines suggesting robots and artificial intelligence software will make us all obsolete. Read more
To coincide with the World Economic Forum in Davos, earlier this week the International Trade Secretary Liam Fox extolled the benefits of free and fair trade and set out how those principles were informing his department’s trade strategy. In contrast to President Trump, Dr Fox looks at the world as a source of trading opportunities, not threats, and is fond of quoting the IMF forecast that 90 per cent of world growth over the next ten to 15 years will come from outside continental Europe. Read more
George Osborne gave Philip Hammond what is known in sport as a hospital pass: an economic plan based on the UK returning to pre-2008 productivity growth of two per cent per annum without the investment or strategy to make it happen. The Office of Budget Responsibility’s figures show we actually got paltry productivity growth of 0.2 per cent growth in 2016 and the forecast for 2017 is 0.0 per cent. Read more
This post is by Angela Francis, chief economist at Green Alliance, and Caterina Brandmayr, policy analyst at Green Alliance.
UK productivity hasn’t grown for nine years. Investment in digitalisation, also known as the fourth industrial revolution, is one way to kickstart the economy and end economic stagnation. Read more
In 2014, Dunlop Systems and Components relocated from a leaky old factory in Holbrook to a highly efficient new factory in 2014. At the same time the company fundamentally redesigned the high pressure steam processes used in making its air suspension components, saving the business 67 per cent on energy and 38 per cent on water use. This strategic approach to resource efficiency turned around a failing company to become a thriving domestic and export business providing high quality jobs in Coventry.
Not all of the ten ‘pillars’ of the industrial strategy green paper will make it into the white paper expected by the end of this year. Civil servants working on the final strategy say the innovation, skills, place, business and infrastructure pillars are the ones likely to remain and the content of the affordable energy and clean growth pillar will be embedded across the strategy. If that can be done well it will better than having a standalone chapter, but if it is done badly, it will be a disaster for the UK’s low carbon transition.
This post first appeared on BusinessGreen.
The government’s Industrial Strategy consultation closed on Easter Monday. But before we had chance to draw breath, a snap election was called, moving the political agenda on again. Read more
Theresa May recently launched the centrepiece of her domestic agenda: the UK’s industrial strategy. After six months of commentary on the parallels between the phenomena that led to the Brexit vote and US election result, it is useful to reflect on the differences that are starting to emerge. A quick read of the green paper appears to show that May is charting a very different course on industrial strategy from the one now being advocated on the other side of the Atlantic. Significant differences are the approach to resource productivity and the attitude to growing low carbon markets. Read more
It’s heretical for a think tank to admit this, but our latest big idea is not really that big. It is in fact medium sized and achievable step from where we are now. It’s an idea so obvious, that once you hear it, you’ll be surprised it’s not happening already. But it isn’t, we checked. Rather than coming up with another big idea for nature, Green Alliance, in partnership with the National Trust, has researched how to enable existing big ideas, around ecosystem services and natural capital, to translate into real changes on the ground. The result is the Natural Infrastructure Scheme (NIS), a new market mechanism which would mean farmers and other land managers could financially benefit from environmental improvements such as flood alleviation and habitat creation. We think its simplicity could lead to ‘payments for ecosystem services’ becoming a mainstream market, reversing declines in nature, and supporting new, environmentally beneficial approaches to farming in the UK.