Unlocking Industrial Strategy

Project Details

ResPublica welcomes the government’s Industrial Strategy, particularly the emphasis on working across departments, importance of place and support for sectors, while seeking to reach parts of the country that for too long have been left behind.

In setting out a framework of key pillars and questions, the Government has created a space in which thought leaders and business can shape the strategy and Britain’s industrial future.

As an influential ideas and strategy house our programme of work adds value, insight and thought-leadership in this key policy area. We are in close proximity to the government on policy and have excellent relationships with key figures in the administration. With our unique blend of place-based expertise and track record of devolved, place-based solutions and institution building, ResPublica connects this with industrial and sector approaches and policy.

The challenge

The British economy does not produce the widened prosperity we need. Productivity is wildly unequal and uneven with many places lacking access to high quality jobs and economic and social opportunity; investment is low and too short-term – the UK invests less of its GDP in R&D than our competitors, restricting innovation and global trade; infrastructure has been poorly planned and under-delivered holding back new investment and job creation; and too much is owned by too few, stifling competition and creativity in markets. While every developed economy has industrial strategies and supportive institutions the UK has lacked these and suffered from piecemeal actions and short-termism. This started to change with a new industrial approach begun under the past two governments and gives foundations on which to build this government’s wide-ranging programme.

New industrial approach

The industrial strategy has much riding on it. It must help create opportunity for all, unlocking talent to spread prosperity. To help achieve this Government’s role must be an entrepreneur and an enabler. We must support races not pick winners, building on our strengths and incentivizing future industry and technologies. As we forge a way post-Brexit, we must harness regulation to enable innovation and new entrants, boost export capacity and advance our global advantage, strengthen competition, and help create the conditions for best business practice. We must future proof our labour force, boost productivity and re-enfranchise communities whose skills are lacking or going to waste. In making an industrial strategy work, capabilities must be devolved to the lowest appropriate level. Councils, city regions, Local Enterprise Partnerships, universities and other devolved institutions must be deployed to respond to local needs to harness opportunities unique to each place and bottom-up innovation.


The Government’s industrial strategy Green Paper sets a frame with key pillars and questions. There is now an opportunity to shape these – the direction, architecture, and delivery of the strategy – as well as resolve the tensions and areas where focus must be strengthened. ResPublica has a track record in the debate over devolution, cities and place-based policy, and has an ambitious programme to shape thinking and direction of the new Industrial Strategy.

Led by Jake Sumner, former chief adviser to the Shadow Business Secretary, we are working with business, sectors, institutions and localities through:

  1. Linking place, institutions and industrial strategy

With our practitioners and experts, we have unparalleled insight into devolved, place-based solutions and institution-building, and connecting this with industrial and sector approaches and policy

  1. Building strategic partnerships with all sectors

We will be a strategic partner to the public and private sector bringing expert analysis, horizon scanning and agile policy solutions, and help guide through the uncertainty of Brexit and the implications for industries and localities

  1. Building consensus and influence

We build support and advocacy for strategies, partnerships and programmes including through our close links with Government and with councils of different political leaderships – our focus is building long-term confidence and consensus that gives the certainty to industry that it needs

Jake Sumner leads for ResPublica on Industrial Strategy: With 20 years in public policy, campaigns and projects in national, regional and local government, he served as Chief of Staff to Chuka Umunna and John Denham as the Shadow Business Secretary, helping shape the concept of a modern industrial strategy. Jake has worked with business within the UK and internationally, creating networks, events and policy approaches. He also brings experience as a former Communities & Local Government Department Special Adviser, elected councillor and Cabinet Member, and through roles at Transport for London including on the Crossrail funding campaign and communication strategy.

In Jake’s view: “A modern Industrial Strategy is an essential pillar for Britain’s future economic success. It can help provide much needed certainty in the political and economic waters ahead. Success will come through building a political consensus, and with delivery and alignment across institutions, business and localities.”

The ResPublica team combines Jake’s industrial strategy and business policy experience with leading place practioner Mark Morrin and Dr James Noyes, a leading thinker on social reform, alongside experts in a number of fields including housing, education and skills.

Our reports, programme and influence

ResPublica’s influential reports on devolution, include ‘Devo Max-Devo Manc’, ‘Restoring Britain’s City States’ and ‘The Missing Multipliers: Devolution to Britain’s Key Cities. This work began a profound debate that is still ongoing and led to significant shifts in the policy landscape. Our blend of research capabilities and synthetic approach enables us to provide transformative insights that others cannot. We work with combined authorities, city regions, councils and other institutions to create a strategic vision for their ‘place’, and unlocking growth and economic development. This includes working with Manchester and Liverpool LEPs, Cambridgeshire and Greater Peterborough, and Brighton, Belfast, Norwich, Bristol, Newport and Glasgow local authorities.

Our current programme includes:

Work with us

ResPublica is working with companies and public sector bodies to help them address the challenges and opportunities presented by this fast moving and critical policy agenda. For an initial, consultative conversation with our Industrial Strategy experts about how we might work with your organisation, please contact Deputy Director, Matthew Cheadle on matthew.cheadle@respublica.org.uk  

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