Theme: Political Economy | Content Type: Journal article

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Industrial Policies or Industrial Strategy: The Difficulty of Enacting Long-Term Supply-Side Reform in the UK

Steve Coulter


Remy Gieling

| 1 min read

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The government's recent ditching of Theresa May's interventionist ‘Industrial Strategy’ and its replacement with the more amorphous and target-driven ‘Plan for Growth’ has dismayed many in industry. But in many ways, the move merely exemplifies the ad hoc, short-termist and ideologically driven nature of how industrial strategy has often been conceived and implemented in the UK since its rediscovery as an important tool of supply-side policy following the market-fundamentalist Thatcherite interregnum. This short-termism has sabotaged repeated attempts to move the UK economy onto a higher and more sustainable growth path and will likely hinder the government in meeting its objectives on productivity, decarbonisation and levelling up through reindustrialisation. The problem has both institutional and ideological causes, largely to do with Treasury domination of the supply-side agenda and its default market failure approach. This hinders successful adoption of the kinds of expansive, ‘mission-oriented’ industrial strategies followed more successfully in other countries and which could be transformative if applied in the UK.

  • Steve Coulter

    Steve Coulter

    Steve Coulter was Head of Industrial Strategy and Skills at the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change, and a Visiting Fellow at the LSE. He is now Head of Economy at Green Alliance.

    Articles by Steve Coulter
Volume 95, Issue 1

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Volume 95, Issue 1

Includes a collection on the Future of Public Service Broadcasting, edited by Suzanne Franks and Jean Seaton. This features articles such as 'The Governance of the BBC' by Diane Coyle; 'A Public Service Internet - Reclaiming the Public Service Mission' by Helen Jay; and 'BBC Funding: Much Ado about the Cost of a Coffee a Week' by Patrick Barwise. There are a wide range of other articles including 'Back to the Stone Age: Europe's Mainstream Right and Climate Change’ by Mitya Pearson and 'Labour, the Unions and Proportional Representation' by Cameron Rhys Herbert. Finally, there is a selection of book reviews such as Lyndsey Jenkins's review of Fighting For Life: The Twelve Battles that Made Our NHS and the Struggle for Its Future by Isabel Hardman, and Victoria Brittain's review of Three Worlds, Memoirs of an Arab-Jew by Avi Shlaim.

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