The Industrial Strategy Commission was an independent, authoritative inquiry into the development of a new, long-term industrial strategy for the UK.

Chaired by leading British economist Dame Kate Barker, the Industrial Strategy Commission was a joint initiative by Policy@Manchester at The University of Manchester and the Sheffield Political Economy Research Institute (SPERI) at the University of Sheffield.

The other members were Professor Diane Coyle, Professor Richard Jones, Professor Andy Westwood and Dr Craig Berry.

The Commission was launched in March 2017.

Laying the Foundations, a report setting out the Commission’s emerging findings, was published in July 2017.

The Commission’s final report was published in November 2017.

Commission timeline

  • Commission objectives and open call for evidence published – Thursday 2 February 2017. The objectives are listed below and the full details of the call for evidence are available on the contributions page.

  • Launch event – The Commission was formally launched on Monday 6 March at the Royal Society in London. Full details of the launch are available in this news story.

  • Evidence submission deadline – Tuesday 2 May.

  • Laying the Foundations report – the Commission’s first major report was published on 10 July. Read the report.

  • Final report – published in November 2017. Read the report.

The objectives of the Commission

Nearly a decade after the global financial crisis, and in the wake of the Brexit vote, it was increasingly recognised by businesses and policymakers that the UK needed new economic thinking and practices, if it was to overcome its problems of stagnant productivity and gross regional disparities in economic performance.

After becoming Prime Minister in July 2016, Theresa May established the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. In January 2017, the government published a green paper on industrial strategy.

We welcomed the emerging consensus about the central role industrial strategy should play in the UK economy. The Industrial Strategy Commission’s core objective was to provide evidence-based policy recommendations for a new, long-term industrial strategy for the UK.

We aimed to outline new ideas and thinking and to understand and address the following key questions:

  • What are the strengths and weaknesses of the UK economy?

  • What are the future challenges and opportunities for an industrial strategy?

  • What is the appropriate role for the state to play?

  • What lessons can be learnt from past UK experience and international comparisons?

Throughout 2017, the Industrial Strategy Commission addressed these questions by drawing on evidence submitted to the Commission and by engaging with national policymakers and leading experts, businesses and organisations from a range of sectors and industries.

The Commission’s work was structured around four broad research themes:

  1. Assessing the UK economy

  2. Future Challenges and Opportunities

  3. The role of the state

  4. Learning lessons