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
Tag Archives: infrastructure
This post is by Shaun Spiers, chief executive of CPRE. It first appeared on CPRE’s blog.
There will be much to welcome in this month’s housing white paper. We expect a big emphasis on brownfield development and more support to enable local authority planning departments to do their job. Best of all, it looks set to address the main cause of the housing shortage: not planning or a lack of land, but the system’s over dependence on a dozen big companies to deliver the new homes the country needs. Read more
Reading the news, it’s hard to know what to make of the UK’s low carbon progress. On Christmas Day we were running on 40 per cent renewable power, and earlier last year we switched all our coal fired power stations off for the first time in 130 years. Read more
This post first appeared as a Huffington Post Blog.
It was George Osborne who, festooned with hard hat and high vis, proclaimed that ‘we are the builders.’ He looked a bit silly, but his message was serious. Building things is what real people do; it’s where real economic growth happens; and it’s a real investment in our shared future. Osborne invented the line, but it is Theresa May who is doing the building. As the BBC’s business editor put it, “from beating ourselves up for not being able to build anything, the UK is suddenly building everything.” Well, almost everything. Read more
Britain has an extraordinarily reliable power system. The lights flicker so rarely that it is easy to forget that the power system is actually a finely tuned and, in some ways, fragile machine, which breaks if electricity demand and supply are not in balance. Perturbations, such as the up-tick in demand after the FA Cup final, or the sudden outage of a coal plant, must be steadied within seconds. Read more
This post is by Green Alliance’s Dustin Benton, head of energy and resources, and Jonny Hazell, senior policy adviser.
Forget the theory: the first test of Britain’s new industrial strategy will be how it handles the steel crisis. Steel used to be the sign of an advanced manufacturing nation, and it still provides the sort of skilled employment outside London that Theresa May has promised to protect. It’s at the heart of the debate about exporting carbon emissions and Brexit Britain’s industrial future. The world will inevitably draw lessons from how it is handled.
This post is by Tim Chapman, director of the infrastructure design group at Arup.
Abating carbon emissions is becoming an increasingly important responsibility, and one in which developed countries such as the UK need to show technological leadership.
Until recently, the infrastructure sector wasn’t aware of its primary role in making this change. Read more
This post is by Mariana Mazzucato, RM Phillips professor in the economics of innovation, SPRU, University of Sussex, author of The entrepreneurial state: debunking public vs private sector myths and Green Alliance trustee.
Speaking at the start of the COP21 meeting in Paris, President Obama told delegates:
“We have proved that strong economic growth and a safer environment no longer have to conflict with one another; they can work in concert with one another.”
He’s right that a green economy need not come at the expense of growth. Policy makers must also now recognise that we cannot rely on the private sector to bring about the kind of radical reshaping of the economy that is required. As Bill Gates recently acknowledged, only the state can provide the kind of patient finance and direction required to make a decisive shift.
The government is in asset sale mode. The planned sale of the nationalised banks will set a new high watermark for capital raised, previously set by the BP privatisation, presided over by Margaret Thatcher in 1987.
The sale of the Green Investment Bank (GIB) is being pushed through, alongside the sale of Lloyds and RBS. But, the criteria by which these sales will be judged are quite different. The sale of the retail banks needs to maximise returns to the taxpayer through the share price achieved on the day of the sale. But, the sale of GIB shares needs to optimise return to taxpayers in the long term by securing the bank’s unique mission. Read more
As public expenditure has been reduced the chancellor has looked to the private sector to make up the shortfall. So far, this strategy has worked: 2010-14 saw cumulative growth in GDP of seven per cent, helped considerably by £40 billion growth in the private sector investment component of GDP over the same period, a rise of 16 per cent. This level of business investment was one of the strongest sources of growth the last parliament. Read more