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UK Industrial strategy under spotlight in Lords debate

2 February 2024

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Members of the House of Lords debated the case for a comprehensive Industrial Strategy for the UK on Thursday 1 February.


Lord Watson of Wyre Forest (Labour), former deputy leader of the Labour party, put forward the debate. 

This was a general debate. During debates, members put their experience to good use to discuss current issues and draw the government's attention to concerns.     

Members speaking 

Contributing members included:

  • Lord Drayson (Labour), co-founder of PowderJect Pharmaceuticals
  • Lord Frost (Conservative), former CEO of the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry
  • Lord Kakkar (Crossbench), surgeon and medical researcher
  • Lord Willets (Conservative), chair of the UK Space Agency's board.

Opening the debate, Lord Watson said:

' the manufacturing trade group Make UK says, the United Kingdom is unique among advanced economies in not having an overarching, comprehensive industrial strategy.

'I do not think we are doing enough to make a decisive difference to the UK’s economic prospects, given our sluggish growth, flatlining wages, regional disparities and chronic underinvestment.'

Responding on behalf of the government,Lord Evans of Rainow said: 

'As a small country, we will never match the pure dollar muscle of the US, China, India or the EU. But we can be nimble, smart, proactive, entrepreneurial and open as a country to doing business.

'The UK was also the fifth-biggest exporter in the world in 2022 and achieved £870 billion of exports in the 12 months to November 2023.'

Get involved  

Watch and read the debate   

Catch up on Parliament TV or read the Lords Hansard transcript.

Explore background information

Find out more in the House of Lords Library briefing on the debate.

Learn more about how the House of Lords checks and challenges government.

Image: Pierre Blanche / Pixabay

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