Rachel Anderson, head of policy and representation, North East England Chamber of Commerce said: “There is a lot to welcome in this report which is a significant step forward with a long term, strategic approach to skills, transport, industrial development and new technology.
“If implemented thoroughly, it will go some way to closing the gap in investment and economic activity between regions. But we believe the Government still has more work to do if it is to achieve what it boldly and correctly described in its manifesto as ‘the biggest prize in Britain today’. This strategy is good but not good enough.
“The fact that a percentage of GDP will now go towards R & D is good news but we now need to make sure the investment is spread around the country and not the South East’s ‘golden triangle’.
“It is very good news that this strategy represents a vote of confidence in our industrial catapults with recognition in the document that organisations like the Centre for Process Innovation have led the way in closing the gap between high level research and bringing products to market. The work done by them is an outstanding benchmark on the national stage.
“There are a number of aspects of the strategy which show the Government has listened to our responses to the Green Paper including more R & D expenditure for large businesses and recognition that the ‘place’ agenda in terms of housing and infrastructure are equally part of an industrial strategy.
“We expect the distribution of resources and investment to be fairly spread throughout the UK. It is crucial that the potential of our towns, cities and counties is effectively harnessed, to make the whole country more competitive and prosperous. It is imperative the focus on places to boost productivity in local economies builds on the LEP’s work rather than new delivery models reinvented.
“It is good news the strategy identifies a role for the North East to play host to two national industry audits for Chemicals and Advanced Manufacturing.
“While we welcome a renewed focus on technical education, there was very little on careers advice or development. The lack of reference to energy generation capacity is disappointing and needs to be addressed to avoid a future energy gap and support industrial development.
“However this strategy is a starting point and we are pleased to see recognition of the importance of businesses working closer with Universities, something we have long championed.