Already significant in the economy, the sector of professional and business services industries is also a key driver of innovation. It is poised to grow strongly through to 2020 as new markets open in emerging economies, and services are developed to support the shift to a digital, low carbon economy.
Trade, Investment and Small Business Minister Lord Davies said: "The sector is a real asset to the UK as we transform to a more networked and smarter low carbon economy, and it also has considerable future export potential."
An interim report setting out priorities for Government action was released for discussion on March 22nd 2010 at a conference of leading industry representatives. Among its draft recommendations are plans for Government to:
- take a lead in developing a new framework of standards for a green economy;
- address concerns about the ownership, privacy and commercial use of personal data;
- encourage the development of fast broadband coverage outside the main cities;
- play a leading role in promoting services in Europe and review the export assistance provided to the sector; and
- improve the way it procures services from the private sector.
The business and professional services sector, broadly defined, amounts to around 20% of GDP. The area of focus of this report is legal, accountancy, advertising, information and communications technology, digital content and management consultancy companies who account for 13 per cent of UK employment and 11 per cent of national output (2005 figures).
In September 2008 the Government established a group chaired by the Financial Services Secretary to the Treasury, Lord Myners, and Sir Michael Snyder, Senior Partner at Kingston Smith LLP. The Group reported to Government in March 2009 and recommended a single point of contact for professional services in Whitehall which led to the Department for Business establishing a Services Policy Unit.