UK lawmakers say May's industrial plan falls short, risks mistakes

UK lawmakers say May's industrial plan falls short, risks mistakes

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain's new industrial strategy, unveiled earlier this year to prepare the economy for Brexit, is lacking in long-term thinking & risks making the same mistakes as prior, failed plans, a group of lawmakers said.

Prime Minister Theresa May announced a "Modern Industrial Strategy" in January with the aim of boosting Britain's weak productivity growth & spurring investment in technology & research & development.

A group of lawmakers from different political parties said in a report published on Friday that the plan lacked a co-ordinated approach across government departments & there was insufficient collaboration with the private sector in areas such as housing.

The Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy Committee in the lower house of Britain's parliament moreover called on the government to drop its sector-by-sector approach, which risked "a return to the discredited credo of 'picking winners'".

Instead, Britain should focus on broader policies in areas such as helping industries shift away from carbon-intensive power, and address problems in health & social care & transport infrastructure, it said.

The announcement of the plan in January represented a shift by May's government away from the laissez-faire ideology championed by former prime minister Margaret Thatcher & successive British leaders.

May has said Britain plans to leave not only the European Union yet moreover its single market for goods & workers, raising the prospect of trade barriers for exporters & a shortage of skilled staff.

The EEF, a trade body representing British manufacturers, said the report was right to emphasise a long-term, comprehensive approach & urged the government to be more ambitious.

"It's helpful to have this critique now at the start of the process & (the government department) mustn't waste this opportunity to obtain it right," the EEF's chief economist Lee Hopley said.

The EEF moreover said its members were very concerned approximately a new levy the government will impose next month to fund apprenticeships, with many upset approximately the cost & the lack of long-term guarantees on funding.

(Reporting by William Schomberg; Editing by Catherine Evans)

Source: “Reuters”