Business and Energy Secretary Greg Clark

Ministers visited sites across Yorkshire to explain how plans for a modern Industrial Strategy will benefit the region.

The government’s regional engagement programme for its Industrial Strategy continued last week (30 March) in Yorkshire, where business ministers met companies and workers from across the area to encourage them to contribute to the consultation, which closes in just over 2 weeks.

The day culminated in an evening reception, hosted by Business Secretary Greg Clark and ministers, at KPMG in Leeds with over 100 businesses from a range of sectors in attendance. The reception gave ministers an opportunity to hear the views of Yorkshire’s business community on how best to get the region’s economy growing.

Business and Energy Secretary Greg Clark said:

A modern British Industrial Strategy must build on our strengths as a country and extend excellence into the future, closing the gap between the UK’s most productive companies, industries, places and people.

Through our modern Industrial Strategy and Northern Powerhouse investment we are going to build on Yorkshire’s unique strengths in industries such as offshore wind and specialist engineering, to make the region one of the most competitive areas in the UK to start and grow a business.

We launched our strategy as a green paper because we want this to be a conversation with businesses and employees. My ministerial team and I have visited sites all over Yorkshire to encourage businesses and workers alike to contribute and refine our vision.

Lord Prior of Brampton visited Rotherham’s Advanced Manufacturing Park to open the Metals Discovery Centre, following a £10 million investment by metal and alloys company Metalysis. The company is launching its Materials Discovery Centre at the Park to expand its research and development capabilities, and once complete Metalysis hope to employ 100 people across its South Yorkshire sites.

Small Business and Consumer Minister Margot James was in Harrogate hosting an Industrial Strategy meeting with the Institute of Directors (IoD), discussing how the strategy can drive growth in the local economy. The minister then toured the Otley-based and family-run textiles company Marton Mills which has been producing a range of fabrics in the region since 1931.

In Bradford, Industry Minister Nick Hurd visited BASF, the largest chemical producer in the world, to learn about the company’s international chemical operations and the local plans for the site. After this the minister hosted a meeting on Industrial Strategy with the manufacturing group EEF at the hydraulics company Oilgear UK in Leeds before meeting with the Leeds Local Enterprise Partnership.

The regional engagement follows the launch of the government’s green paper, ‘Building our Industrial Strategy’, in January which outlined 10 pillars of focus to be discussed as part of a 12 week consultation period. The pillars cover a broad range of themes including skills, infrastructure, affordable energy and clean growth.

The strategy proposes plans for driving growth across the country, with a framework to build on local strengths and reduce regional disparities in opportunities and prosperity.

With a clear ambition of creating an economy that works for everyone, the green paper contains a number of proposed announcements set to benefit Yorkshire and the Humber such as:

  • capitalising on our strengths in the modern energy market, like offshore wind, so businesses such as Siemens in Hull can win a substantial share of the global market
  • building on the work of Transport for the North bringing together planning across the region to develop plans for a west-east rail link
  • investing in skills so there are enough engineers in the region to support the thriving offshore industry

The government has issued an open invitation to industries, businesses and local groups in Yorkshire to visit the Industrial Strategy consultation and help set the priorities for a modern Industrial Strategy.

The consultation period has just over 2 weeks remaining, closing on April 17, after which the government will consider responses before publishing a white paper later in the year.

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