The Prime Minister launched her modern industrial strategy on Monday morning as she chaired her first regional cabinet meeting in the northwest.
The strategy sets out plans to build on the nation’s strengths and improve weaknesses by focusing on major new investments in infrastructure and research to drive prosperity.
An offer to businesses to strike new ‘sector deals’ is at the heart of the strategy green paper.
Carolyn Fairbairn has backed Theresa May's new industrial strategy
There’s a huge importance to invest in technical skills
The former Number 10 policy adviser to John Major said: “We all know about Brexit but the challenges of technology change, the challenges of globalisation all make this a very important time to set out this plan and set out something that can address the fundamental productivity and inequality of problems that affect our country.
“There’s a huge importance to invest in technical skills and capabilities and that is an element that we welcome very strongly, right across the board.
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“I think that this emphasis on pillars and levers that affect the whole economy really matter. We do however, still think the sectors are important.
“Sectors have different needs, we know from the successful experience of aerospace and automotive that you must keep a sectoral lense and we’re pleased to see that in the plan today.”
Asked more than once what she thought about having a new bank designed to lend to innovative parts of the economy that found it difficult to raise public finance, Mrs Fairbairn finally agreed.
Carolyn Fairbairn also supported the idea of a new bank to lend to innovative firms
She said: “I think that’s a yes it needs to be looked at, I think that’s a really interesting idea.”
Mariana Mazzucato, a professor in the economics of innovation at the University of Sussex, was also on the programme and said the strategy had the potential to tackle productivity and inequality in the economy.
She said: “I think it has the potential to do it, but all is going to be in the detail.”
The former member of shadow Chancellor John McDonnell’s economic advisory board added research and development needed more focus.
The Cabinet met in Warrington on Monday as the Government unveiled its strategy
Ms Mazzucato said: “We have been actually simply ring-fencing R&D for the last five years, which has actually meant about a 15 per cent drop in real spending at the same time that Germany has increased its spending by about 15 per cent and China as we know in the last 10 years has actually increased it by over 100 per cent.
“So, if we’re talking about competitiveness, we really need to make sure that this actually is going to mean a net increase but also distributed across the whole innovation chain.”
She added one of the “key problems” in the UK was the inequality fuelled by private and public education with different curriculums, adding future innovators were going to be from all class backgrounds.
As part of the industry strategy, the government said it was prepared to offer a range of support, including looking at regulatory barriers and new institutions to provide leadership.
Business and Energy Secretary Greg Clark said: “This is an important step in building a modern, dynamic industrial strategy that will improve living standards and drive economic growth across the whole country.”
The strategy is part of the Prime Minister’s Plan for Britain, following the UK’s decision to leave the European Union.
Theresa May said: “The modern industrial strategy will back Britain for the long term, creating the conditions where successful businesses can emerge and grow, and backing them to invest in the long-term future of our country.
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“It will be underpinned by a new approach to government, not just stepping back but stepping up to a new, active role that backs business and ensures more people in all corners of the country share in the benefits of its success.”
Britons have overwhelmingly supported the Theresa May’s 12-point strategy for cutting ties with EU, which will see an end to the UK’s membership of the bloc’s Single Market, control over EU immigration and negotiating a free trade deal with the remaining 27 member states.
A total of 53 per cent of voters would be happy if Mrs May delivered on her plan, more than double the number (26 per cent) who would be unhappy, according to a YouGov poll.