Knowledge economy holds key to Britain’s industrial future says Cable
Research, innovation and commercialisation of knowledge based products and services are key to British industrial future, Vince Cable has said.
In a speech at the Imperial College in London, the Liberal Democrat Business Secretary insisted the coalition government will replace the traditional the “ad-hoc” of managing the economy with a proactive, coherent strategic approach.
"Government makes decisions every day that affect the British economy, but has for too long done this in an ad hoc way. Government needs to be more like business, by making strategic plans and sticking to them,” he said.
Speaking to assembled business leaders and other stakeholders, Mr. Cable laid out where the Government will be concentrating its efforts. He unveiled some key measures to boost the economy by focusing on knowledge intensive industries.
The Government will create some sort of “investment bank” to help companies invest in capital and drive their expansion. While the structure and how it fits within the current financial system are still under discussion, the Business Secretary emphasised it would be a hub for alternative lending.
Successive governments have tried to get banks to start lending to SMEs since the beginning of the economic crisis however businesses across the UK are being starved of capital. The coalition hopes this new “investment bank” would help to bypass the banking system to get necessary capital to high growth firms.
"Our first part of that plan is lifting the barrier that poor access to finance puts on growth. By helping firms to invest capital, businesses expand, and create jobs,” the Minister said.
The UK needs to accelerate he journey from pure academic research to a commercial product being brought to market to help boost ground-breaking technologies of the future, Cable said.
The Government has already made £180 million available to support the commercialisation of innovations in the life sciences sector and building on this new approach, there will now be a new Innovation and Knowledge centre in Synthetic biology to explore the opportunities this sector presents. The Business Secretary announced that 34 bids had been successful in the first round of the Employer Ownership pilot scheme securing £67 million of public funding and generating £98 million in private investment, making sure that employers can access exactly the sort of skills they need.
In addition, the coalition will develop a series of collaborative but challenging sector strategies in advanced manufacturing, knowledge-intensive traded industries, and the enabling industries. This will include building strategic partnerships with industries and targeting support for them to help realise their substantial growth prospects.
The Business Secretary claimed that the government had a “clear and ambitious vision, a commitment far beyond the usual political timescale that will continue to bear fruit decades later.”
“It will give our businesses certainty, allow them to make their own plans, and know that the full weight of Government is behind them,” he added. “We will work in a strategic partnership with industry, focusing our support on specific sectors. This is our commitment to growth in action."