Back to the Future? UK Industrial Policy After the Great Financial Crisis

  • David Bailey
  • Philip R. Tomlinson
Part of the International Papers in Political Economy book series (IPPE)


In the aftermath of the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) (2008), debates began to shift towards perspectives on the ‘rebalancing’ of mature economies with a particular emphasis on promoting more sustainable productive activities. In the UK, this led to an initial acceptance—among some policy-makers—that the state could in a positive way utilise ‘industrial policy’ to revitalise manufacturing. However, while some of the early industrial policy initiatives—such as the Automotive Council and the Catapults—have been promising, the Coalition and then Conservative government’s stance on industrial policy has been at best ‘muddled’ and at worst is often ‘empty rhetoric’. In this chapter, we explore and evaluate the role of UK industrial policy since the GFC, paying particular emphasis on initiatives at technological, regional and sectoral levels. We conclude with some suggestions for the future course of UK industrial policy, in the post-Brexit era, given the government’s recent green paper.


Industrial policy Smart specialisation Regional development Innovation 

JEL Classification

L50 L52 R11 L60 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • David Bailey
    • 1
  • Philip R. Tomlinson
    • 2
  1. 1.Aston Business SchoolUniversity of AstonBirminghamUK
  2. 2.Institute of Policy Research, School of ManagementUniversity of BathBathUK

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