Theresa May's industrial strategy needs an OBR-style watchdog, warn businesses

Mark Sands
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The consultation on the industrial strategy closed yesterday. (Source: Getty)

Business leaders have called for a new independent watchdog to hold the government to account on its industrial strategy plans.

One of the UK’s largest business lobbying groups has called for the government to face specific performance targets, challenging ministers to turn the UK into the world’s most competitive economy by 2030.

The CBI, which represents almost 200,000 British firms, has also demanded a new independent monitor, akin to the influential Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR), to hold the government to account on its ambitions.

The CBI issued the proposals in response to a consultation on Prime Minister Theresa May’s industrial strategy, which closed yesterday.

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The consultation followed a January green paper from ministers, and has seen business groups stress the need for urgent action.

Manufacturers association EEF has echoed the call for measurable goals for ministers, calling on the government to focus more on commitments to minimise costs like energy bills, and utilise embassies and commercial posts to support new market access.

Similarly, the British Chambers of Commerce called for the “strongest possible” focus on geography in deliberations.

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Business secretary Greg Clark said: “Our modern industrial strategy represents an ambitious long-term vision for the UK that will build on our strengths as a country and deliver a high-skilled economy for the years ahead.

“The green paper was the beginning of an open dialogue to develop the industrial strategy. We welcome all contributions to the consultation and will consider the findings of each response carefully.”

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