The Final Report of the Industrial Strategy Commission

An ambitious new industrial strategy will help the UK’s people, places and businesses achieve their potential, says the Final Report of the Industrial Strategy Commission which was published on 1 November 2017.

The Commission’s Final Report made a series of wide-ranging recommendations for the development of the UK’s new industrial strategy.

It called for a complete overhaul of how the government views industrial strategy and argued that it must be rethought as a broad, long-term and non-partisan commitment to strategic management of the economy. The new industrial strategy must be an ambitious long-term plan with a positive vision for the UK.

Dame Kate Barker, Chair of the Industrial Strategy Commission said:

“The UK’s people, places and industries have great strengths and untapped potential, but we must accept the reality that the economy also contains many long-established weaknesses.

“Industrial strategy needs to be embraced as a long-term plan to manage the economy strategically and embedded throughout government. If we get the new strategy right it can build on these strengths, tackle our weaknesses and above all have a positive, long-lasting impact on people’s everyday lives. This implies that sometimes it will be right to choose equity and long-term-gains over short-term efficiency.”

Key recommendations

The Commission’s key recommendations and messages included:

  • Universal Basic Infrastructure: All citizens should have access to Universal Basic Infrastructure. Everywhere in the UK should be served by adequate hard infrastructure and high quality human capital-building public services.

  • Health and social care: Achieving better outcomes for people’s wellbeing must be placed at the centre of the strategy. Focus is needed to use health and social care procurement to drive innovation and to redesign training to raise skills in the sector.

  • Place matters: An industrial strategy should not try to do everything everywhere, but it should seek to do something for everywhere. In five or ten years’ time we should be able to pick anywhere in the UK and say how the strategy has helped that place, its people and industries.

  • Further and faster devolution: The UK’s centralisation is extreme; most places perform below average. Further and faster devolution to towns, cities and regions is essential.

  • Innovation policy: The state’s purchasing power to create new markets and drive demand for innovation in areas such as healthcare and low carbon energy.

  • New institutions: A new powerful industrial strategy division should be established in the Treasury to ensure the new strategy is driven from the centre and embedded across government.

  • Monitoring and measuring success: We propose a new independent expert body – the Office for Strategic Economic Management – to monitor and measure the long-term success of the new strategy.

  • New methods of appraisal: Decision-making for large strategic projects needs a significant overhaul to account for their potential impact on behaviour.

The new strategy should be designed to meet six strategic goals:

  1. Ensuring adequate investment in infrastructure.

  2. Decarbonisation of the energy economy.

  3. Developing a sustainable health and social care system.

  4. Unlocking long-term investment.

  5. Supporting high-value industries and building export capacity.

  6. Enabling growth in all parts of the UK.


Press release: An ambitious UK industrial strategy will help people, places and businesses achieve their potential – Industrial Strategy Commission

Download: The Final Report of The Industrial Strategy Commission (PDF, 2.5MB)

Download: Executive Summary (PDF, 455KB)