In conversation with Gerry Grimstone, Baron Grimstone of Boscobel, Minister for Investment, Former Chairman of Barclays Bank and Standard Life

In conversation with Gerry Grimstone, Baron Grimstone of Boscobel, Minister for Investment, Former Chairman of Barclays Bank and Standard Life

11.09.20

Tulchan Frameworks, hosted by James Harding, Co-founder and Editor, Tortoise Media, in conversation with Gerry Grimstone, Baron Grimstone of Boscobel, Minister for Investment, Former Chairman of Barclays Bank and Standard Life

Amid tentative signs of renewed UK economic growth – matched by feverish media speculation about the risk of a second lockdown – the conversation focused on the specific challenge of investment in the Covid era and how it could be systematically encouraged by government.

The ‘investor lens’

It is more important than ever that this be part of the policy-making tool-kit. How can investment potential be packaged and presented to match investor interest?

Investible propositions

The UK’s sectoral strengths are broad, but special attention should be paid to life sciences, renewable energy, technology and innovation and green business amongst others. In this respect, universities - and not only Russell Group members - can be (and in many cases already are) focuses of business eco-systems and investment clusters.

The power of the centre

The commitment of the Prime Minister and Chancellor to this approach has already been beneficial, helping to remove blockages in the system when they appear.

Impact of covid on government psychology

Of necessity, government has had to involve itself in almost every feature of national life during the pandemic. This has had the purely practical benefit of increasing the readiness of ministers and officials to intervene in cases which would previously have been assumed to be the ring-fenced terrain of the private sector.

Security

The National Security and Investment Bill is not, as widely reported, anti-Chinese in character. Indeed, it is explicitly ‘actor-agnostic’ - designed, instead, to establish a legislative framework to protect national security in what the government intends to be a busy supranational network of post-Brexit trade deals.

Brexit

Investors are ready both for a trade deal between the UK and the European Union, and for a ‘no-deal’ outcome. What they do want is an end to the present uncertainty so they can price the risk into their investment strategies accordingly.

COP-26

The UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow in November 2021 will be an excellent showcase for the UK’s clean technology - but we cannot afford to wait till then. The campaign for investment is - more than ever - a national priority.