What is an industrial strategy? A senior committee of MPs has launched an inquiry into the government's plans

 
Mark Sands
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Theresa May's new government department is facing an inquiry from MPs (Source: Getty)

Prime Minister Theresa May's plans to launch a new industrial strategy are being examined by MPs this morning after a senior committee launched an inquiry.

The Business, Innovation and Skills committee is seeking to ascertain “what the government means by industrial strategy”, and how interventionist May's government should be.

Committee chair Iain Wright said: “I am pleased that the new Prime Minister agrees that a modern innovative and competitive economy needs an industrial strategy. But we on the committee want to explore what this means in practice. Will this be a return to ‘picking winners’ by the government?

“Is it just a rebadging of existing policies? Or is the government going to make a genuinely new offer to support key industries right across the country?”

Read More: Eyebrows raised after PM unveils new department of industrial strategy

The committee will also look at what businesses will hope to see from government, and whether plans will include geographical emphases.

MPs will take written submissions until 27 September, although the committee may also take evidence at hearings before the deadline passes.

The committee is hoping to call Business and Energy secretary Greg Clarke, among other witnesses.

Read More: Why you should beware May’s “industrial strategy”

Meanwhile, the future of the BIS and Energy and Climate Change committees will be decided by party whips after the return of parliament in September.

The merger of the two departments under Theresa May means that a new committee will have to be constituted to shadow the newly created Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy department.

Wright is understood to be keen to lead the new committee, although the membership will be formally thrashed out by MPs next month.

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