Countryside in Yorkshire Dales (Yorkshire, England 2016)
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Nick Hill

Yorkshire business leaders back Government's Industrial Strategy, according to new report

87% of business leaders in Yorkshire believe that an industrial strategy is needed in the UK, according to BGF’s Growth Climate Index.

The Growth Climate Index is a survey of British business leaders and entrepreneurs measuring confidence in the UK’s business growth environment

However, 83% want the Government’s proposed Industrial Strategy to direct targeted support towards emerging businesses and sectors (e.g. clean energy, robotics and biotechnology) compared to just 7% who believe that the Government should prioritise support for established business and sectors.

The results tend to support the aims laid out in the Government’s Industrial Strategy. 90% of business leaders agree that under certain circumstances, it is right for the Government to intervene in the private sector to support economic growth.

Furthermore, 90% also believe that the Government should focus on supporting SMEs specifically in order to boost productivity.

Respondents, however, remain divided over whether further clarity on Brexit is more important for British business rather than an industrial strategy at this stage – 47% agree compared to 50% who disagree.

However, the evidence indicates that business leaders are overall feeling more positive about the outlook for growth.

The results of the previous Growth Climate Index, conducted immediately after the Referendum vote, showed that 65% believed that conditions would worsen compared to just 19% who expected them to improve.

This has changed to 33% expecting conditions for growth to improve over the next quarter compared to 30% who expect them to worsen (37% don’t expect them to change).

Andy Gregory, regional director of BGF for the North, said: “The Government’s Industrial Strategy is enjoying strong support from the private sector but business leaders clearly want a break from the past.

“Rather than solely propping up established players and businesses at the top, there is a clear appetite for a new kind of Industrial Strategy which supports and energises growing businesses and sectors, but also recognises the role that smaller businesses can play in driving innovation and eliminating the productivity gap.

“This task will only become more important as we leave the EU and build a new trading relationship with our European partners, and indeed the rest of the world.

“Whilst uncertainty remains, this latest survey points to signs of cautious optimism and indicates that resilient British businesses are beginning to develop a positive and pragmatic vision of our future. I share this vision and BGF remains committed to investing in and supporting the UK’s most ambitious small and mid-sized businesses.”

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