The government has appointed Bank of England chief economist Andy Haldane to chair a new industrial strategy council in a bid to boost Britain’s low productivity.
The council, which will meet three or four times per year, will publish a regular report on the government’s progress on implementing its industrial strategy.
The body will also provide advice on delivering on its industrial strategy as well as ways of measuring productivity as well as the “better use of data across government”.
Haldane, who will receive no salary for the role, said the council will take into account the views of people from business, investors, economists, and academics as it tries to provide “impartial and independent evaluations” of the government’s progress in carrying out its industrial strategy.
Business secretary Greg Clark said Haldane will provide “authority and independence, as well as the benefit of his thought leadership in this area.”
Haldane has been one of the most vocal proponents of efforts to boost British productivity. In speeches he has previously discussed the impact of “zombie” firms which have been able to survive only because of low interest rates in the last decade, holding back productivity.
Improving productivity is “perhaps the greatest gift” for long-term prosperity, Haldane said last year in a speech last year at the London School of Economics.
“If history is any guide, there is unlikely to be any single measure which puts productivity growth back on track,” he said. “But measures which support the long tail of companies, currently operating at low levels of productivity, have the potential to do considerable good.”
Haldane today said the industrial strategy is “one of the most critical strands of work taking place across government and 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.”
Bank of England governor Mark Carney said Haldane’s involvement will aid the interest rate-setting monetary policy committee’s outlook on growth and inflation.