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UK needs industrial strategy to expand its economy, says CBI

By John Mulgrew

The UK needs a new industrial strategy to make it the "most competitive" economy in the world by 2030, one leading business group has said.

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) is calling on the government to deliver a new dedicated and modern strategy, aimed at expanding the economy.

It wants a "2030 mission statement" to be set out, with "measurable objectives for growth in living standards, productivity and regional equity".

It's also calling for the development of a "compelling brand to unite sectors and regions and communicate a sense of ambition and energy to the wider public".

Carolyn Fairbairn, CBI director-general, said: "The UK is at the foothills of extraordinary change as we look to redefine our role in the world and adapt to rapid technological advances in the workplace.

"A new industrial strategy must aim to make the UK economy the most competitive in the world by 2030.

"We must build on our leading knowledge base, drive a renaissance in our traditional heartlands of manufacturing and create a new wave of entrepreneurship by making the UK the easiest place to start and grow a business. By doing this we can raise productivity and improve lives in every community up and down the country.

"This vision should not be created solely by business, nor by government. It must be created and owned by business, government and society together. To make this happen, it must be underpinned by a partnership between business and government that is the best in the world, based on trust and shared interest."

Just last week, the CBI's regional director in Northern Ireland, Angela McGowan, joined with 19 business groups, universities and voluntary sector bodies in making a final appeal to Stormont to restore a working government, or face job cuts. She warned that investment and jobs are at risk as a result of the political stalemate.

"It's really important to demonstrate that there is a big voice out there, that we want to shape our own future in Northern Ireland," she said. "People voted for a shared government and a shared way forward in Northern Ireland, and that's what has to happen - find a compromise or find a way forward, or everyone loses."

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