Lack of semiconductor strategy branded ‘act of national self-harm’

Ministers have vowed to publish a strategy to tackle the semiconductor shortage “as soon as possible” after a high-profile MP branded the delay an “act of national self-harm”.   

Darren Jones, chair of parliament’s business, energy and industrial strategy committee, criticised the government following its official response to a report by his committee on the UK’s semiconductor industry. 

The report, published in November, included a recommendation for the government to publish the strategy to help the semiconductor supply chain “immediately”.   

Calls are being made to tackle the problem amid a continued global shortage of semiconductors, which was initially caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Among their varied use, the chips are used in gas boilers, which has led to shortages. Smart meters, white goods, heat pumps and EV chargers have also been affected, leading to longer lead times for contractors.  

Jones said: “Countries across the globe have grasped the importance of securing semiconductor supply chains for their futures, why haven’t we? While others race ahead, ploughing billions into setting up fabs [semiconductor fabrication plants] or industry support, we’re not even at the starting line.” 

He added: “Two years in the making but still no strategy. Further delay would be an act of national self-harm.”

In response, a spokesperson for the Department forDigital, Culture, Media & Sport said: “We are committed to supporting the UK’s vitally important semiconductor industry.

“Our strategy will address the recommendations identified by the committee, including opportunities to grow the sector further and make sure we have a resilient supply chain. The strategy will be published as soon as possible.”  

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