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The Disraeli Room is a hub for new ideas, commentary and analysis. ResPublica's blog is named after the great reforming Prime Minister of the nineteenth century, Benjamin Disraeli, and welcomes contributions from across the political, academic and professional spectrum.
The UK is not alone in it’s citizens aspiring to secure their futures, and finances, through self-employment and entrepreneurship. Here in Poland, and across the European Union, individuals want to work for themselves, increasingly need to create their own work and are searching out ways of circumventing the shrinking labour markets and constructing their own platforms to enter it through.
I was sitting in a vibrant Milanese coffee shop a few months ago with three Italian university students – they were sparky, enthusiastic, effective communicators and they had a really good business idea (a music based product – very clever).
Perhaps for too long economic independence has seemed a distant, intangible concept far removed from the everyday lives of most of the population. Yet to achieve economic independence on an individual, community, regional and national scale is one of the key graduations of life: the daughter or son who moves from economic dependency on their parents to economic independence offers the individual growth, freedom, choice, confidence, self esteem and has knock on effects for the community in which the individual lives.
The true meaning of work, for many, is no longer about employment and career progression – aspirations have moved on from six figure salaries and rising to the top. More and more people are vocal about their desire to work for purpose driven organisations and in places where they can have a positive impact on the world around them, rather than following a traditional career trajectory with a comfortable landing.
A practical, people-centred and grassroots approach to economic growth in a city, and region, should focus on opening up pathways for the local population. There are two elements to this. Initially it should support people to identify the needs and opportunities of their communities and areas.
In the Budget the Chancellor announced that the Government intended to “deliver an open API standard in UK banking”. For politicians and economists dissecting the 125 page report, this sentence probably didn’t stand out a great deal.
The near inexorable rise in UK energy prices over the past five years has made energy policy a topical electoral battleground for next month’s General Elections. But unsustainable energy prices reflect not just inadequate policy, but the need to re-think our entire energy model.
The UK’s housing stock is some of the least energy efficient in Europe, with energy waste accounting for 15% of the UK’s carbon dioxide emissions in September 2014. While energy inefficiency has clear environmental implications, it is also hurting UK consumers with the current average dual-fuel bill set to rise above £1,264 per year.
Working together will be the big theme of the new few years if we are to meet social need effectively. A new configuration of dependency, independence and inter-dependence in services for the public (and with and by the public) will be necessary in which public money and resources provide the seeds for change and not the whole medicine.
In the middle of an election campaign, the last thing we expect to find is consensus. Yet in contrast to most other issues, we have found near-universal agreement that the UK is not building enough homes.
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