UK-based contractor Balfour Beatty has voiced its support for the government’s industrial strategy plan, following Prime Minister Theresa May announcing the creation of a focused department.

The government will create a Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS), which Balfour Beatty said would help the country to respond effectively following Brexit – the UK’s decision to leave the European Union.

It said the new strategy would help the country to build on its strengths, while taking advantage of opportunities that could emerge during and after the Brexit negotiations.

The responsibilities outlined by the government in its BEIS department include developing and delivering a comprehensive industrial strategy and leading the government’s relationship with business, while ensuring that the country has secure energy supplies that are reliable, affordable and clean. It is also responsible for ensuring the UK remains at the leading edge of science, research and innovation, and tackling climate change.

Balfour Beatty said it would be important that industry and other interested parties have the opportunity to input views and ideas as the strategy developed. It added that there was also many lessons that could be learned from other countries and previous models, relating to what has worked particularly well elsewhere, as well as what has not worked.

It said the company encouraged those drafting the strategy to look at such examples to ensure that the UK version takes the best of what has gone before.

Balfour Beatty said a sectoral approach must be an element of the industrial strategy, in order to achieve the objective of sustained and sustainable productivity across the whole economy. It said this approach would involve key industries being identified for success, in order to maximise the benefits from the levers the government has available to it. Such an approach, it said, would also enable the UK to play to its strengths in supporting those industries where it has a competitive advantage.

It added that a modern industrial strategy which provided support for all areas of the economy would not only help other UK businesses flourish, but would send a strong signal to other countries around the world that the UK was very much open for business.

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