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Andy Haldane to chair Industrial Strategy Council

Nearly a year after the government announced the creation of an Industry Council it’s finally announced the appointment of Andy Haldane, the Bank of England’s chief economist, as chair. It’s been a long time in coming.

The Industrial Strategy Council is being created to advise the government on industrial policy, and assess and evaluate its industrial strategy.

Launched in November last year by the business secretary, Greg Clarke, the council will monitor the implementation of the government's industrial strategy which is intended to boost innovation, increase workplace skills and ensure that funds are finding their way to all parts of the economy and country.

The aim was to have an independent council up and running by spring of this year to keep an eye on the government’s progress, but until Haldane’s appointment there seemed to have been little activity.

According to Clark, Haldane’s appointment will provide “authority and independence, as well as the benefit of his thought leadership in this area”.

The slow progress in finding a chair had come in for strong criticism with critics suggesting that the government was paying ‘lip service’ when it came to delivering on its much touted Industrial Strategy, which had been welcomed by industry when it was released.

For many, Brexit was taking up so much of the government’s time that important domestic policies were being overshadowed and ignored and it was ‘sucking the energy out of Whitehall’

Haldane, who will chair the first meeting of the council next month, said it would provide “impartial and independent evaluations” of the government’s performance in its efforts to deliver on its Industrial Policy.”

The government really does need to focus on the domestic agenda and the Industrial Strategy should take priority. As Haldane said, “It has the potential to raise living standards across the whole of the UK, boost people’s earning powers and put the UK at the forefront of future industries internationally.”

The UK has experienced a ‘lost decade’ in terms of productivity, companies are feeling insecure and are cutting back on investment.

Haldane certainly has his work cut out for him!

Neil Tyler

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