A national industrial strategy was a key pillar of government policy throughout post-war Britain until Margaret Thatcher effectively outlawed the phrase in Conservative circles, and indeed the national dialogue, in the search for market liberalisation and competition. This coincided with the beginning of the decline of manufacturing in the UK. Between 1980 and 2010, the UK manufacturing and production sector, as a total percentage of GDP, declined from 45% to below 20%, with cities such as Birmingham, Sheffield and Sunderland diminishing in the face of international competition and falling global prices. Whether the two are related is still hotly disputed to this day.
We look at what the Prime Minister is trying to gain by [re-]introducing an industrial strategy, and what it means for UK policy.