Government’s Industrial Strategy ‘could deliver boost for Swindon’s economy’

December 1, 2017

Swindon’s economy could benefit from aspects of the government’s long-awaited Industrial Strategy, announced this week, two key figures in the town’s business community have said.

But there was also disappointment at the lack of detail in some of initiatives and a need for more engagement with the business community. 

Ian Larrard, director of the Swindon & Wiltshire Initiative – part of Business West – said: “Following the Chancellor’s Budget last week it should come as no surprise that government support for hi-tech growth and the exploitation of digital technologies is at the heart of its Industrial Strategy White Paper.

“Beyond these so-called ‘grand challenges’, government is right to identify the ‘five foundations of productivity’ as ideas, people, infrastructure, the business environment and place.

“Out of all of these, it is a renewed focus on place that resonates most strongly with the Initiative’s objective of making this region the best place to live, work and do business.

“Despite this, however, on the basis of the ‘key policies’ put forward by government to signal this renewed focus on place, one cannot help but be a little disappointed.”

He said while the pledge to develop ‘Local Industrial Strategies’ sounded promising it was unclear how they would work in practice and if they would turn out to be complementary to the work of the council and LEP in this area.

The £42m budget to help pilot the Teacher Development Premium in schools seemed highly ambitious given the skills gaps the region faces, he said, and added that much more detail and much more input from the business community was desperately needed.

Paddy Bradley, director of the Swindon and Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), said it “supported and embraced” the focus on improving infrastructure, developing skills and creating a supportive environment in which businesses could flourish.

“Swindon and Wiltshire is home to world-leading sectors including life sciences, low-carbon energy technologies including hydrogen, advanced engineering in aerospace and robotics, innovation in science and defence technologies and cyber security.

“Our five strategic economic objectives – skills and talent; transport infrastructure; digital capability; place shaping; and business development – closely align with the foundations of productivity of the Industrial Strategy.

“We are committed to working in partnership with the government to deliver the Industrial Strategy, developing our world-leading sectors to promote growth and investment, drive productivity improvements and address skills shortages.”

He said he was also pleased that the Industrial Strategy affirmed the government’s commitment to LEPs, Growth Hubs and the important role they played in delivering business support in the local economy.



Comments are closed.


Reach tens of thousands of senior business people across Swindon & Wiltshire for just £70 a month. Email for more information.