Industrial strategy ‘too focused’ on offshore wind, urge MPs

Wind turbines sit in the North Sea at the London Array offshore wind farm, a partnership between Dong Energy A/S, E.ON AG and Abu Dhabi-based Masdar, in the Thames Estuary, U.K. Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg
Wind turbines sit in the North Sea at the London Array offshore wind farm, a partnership between Dong Energy A/S, E.ON AG and Abu Dhabi-based Masdar, in the Thames Estuary, U.K. Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg

The Government is being urged to do more to engage with industries such as steel, retail and hospitality as they risk being “left behind”.

MPs also suggested the UK Government should be less focussed on the growing offshore wind market.

A committee of MPs said the Government’s Industrial Strategy must honour its “open door” offer.

The Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee suggested that ministers were unwilling to meet the requests of the steel industry.

Efforts have been focused too much on hi-tech sectors such as offshore wind, the committee claimed.

Rachel Reeves, who chairs the committee, said: “Sector deals won’t be enough on their own to tackle the UK’s productivity puzzle or insulate industry from the fall-out of a no-deal Brexit or of greater friction in our future trade with the European Union.

“But sector deals are a key plank of the Government’s Industrial Strategy and, if agreed fairly and honoured fully, have the potential to make an important contribution to boosting the nation’s lagging productivity, improving competitiveness, and delivering growth to all parts of the UK.

“The Government’s Industrial Strategy isn’t doing enough for the ‘everyday economy’, in sectors such as retail and hospitality where millions of Brits are employed.

“The ‘open door’ offer to industry isn’t being delivered upon in these neglected sectors and the Government needs to be much clearer about the criteria for sector deals and engage more actively and decisively to make these happen.

“On steel, the Government should get back to the table and talk to the industry to get a sector deal done.

“Having made the steel industry jump through hoops in efforts to get a deal, the Government should now deliver on its side of the bargain.”

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