Any realistic growth plan should start by accepting that the UK lacks the sinews, networks and public perceptions of a genuine industrial society.'

Former trade and industry under secretary Chris Benjamin provides a critical review of British industrial policy over the past 30 years and lays out the scale of the challenge of staying competitive in the modern global economy.

'Amid the clamour for a 'plan for growth', or a 'plan B', or even a 'plan A+', it is generally forgotten that British industry has been losing international competitiveness for at least three decades. It is perverse to rely on the institutional structures and attitudes that have contributed to this decline to reverse the trend.

'A genuine growth strategy needs to junk conventional policy approaches, and replace them - to quote a senior policy adviser in Singapore - with a government team smarter than the smartest captains of industry.'