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Professional and Business Services Industrial Strategy

Volume 566: debated on Thursday 11 July 2013

The Government have today published “Growth is Our Business: A Strategy for Professional and Business Services”.

Last September I set out our new industrial strategy, and how we would work with business to stimulate economic growth and create jobs. Today’s strategy for tradable, knowledge-intensive professional and business services (PBS) is the latest in a series which focuses on key parts of our economy. It has been produced by Government in partnership with the Professional and Business Services Council and with others from across the sector.

The UK’s PBS sector comprises a range of high-skilled services, such as accountancy, legal, marketing/corporate communications, management and engineering consultancy services, it is significant in scale. It generated 11% of UK gross value added in 2011 and provided nearly 12% of UK employment1. It supports change and innovation right across our economy. The sector is also a global success story. Its exports represented £47 billion in 20112, with a trade surplus of £19 billion—a third of the UK’s total services sector surplus3.

This strategy identifies several areas for action, including two that are key to ensuring the future success of the sector. These are, first, increasing access to the high-level skills demanded by client-focused professional firms and, secondly, increasing PBS exports to emerging markets. The strategy sets out plans for both these priorities:

The industry will partner with Government to work towards trebling within five years the numbers of high apprenticeships across PBS. We aim to create new non-graduate routes into the sector. PBS firms will also work with schools to highlight the opportunities available.

Government and industry will also partner on a new trade and investment strategy. A new network of senior PBS business representatives will be set up to champion UK capabilities overseas.

I will be placing copies of the strategy document in the Libraries of both Houses.

1 ONS national accounts data and BIS calculations

2 ONS Pink Book

3 OECD trade in services data