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The UK has some of the highest levels of wealth concentration in the developed world. However, high barriers to entry mean most of our mature economic markets are dominated by a few big players gaining excessive returns through anti-competitive practices.
This conspires against the small and emerging businesses we need to generate growth and spread prosperity. We believe that the future lies in the shaping of a genuinely social, free and open market. This means that on the one hand, financial transactions are linked to a wider social purpose. On the other, we need an entrepreneurial state to drive innovation forward.
Prosperity is damaged by the disparity between the asset rich and the asset poor. This is to the detriment of society, fostering political and civic disengagement and imbalances of power. Assets must be secured for all through an ownership-based economy, in which everyone’s space is economically underwritten. To help people build their lives on a firm foundation, we must ensure all have free and equal access to public services at the point of need.
Finally, practical and adaptable education is key to personal development. The skills gap is a major barrier to prosperity, which precludes many from entering the workforce. Early specialization in schools fails to produce the well-rounded skill sets necessary in a fast-changing economy. Employment and education should be tied firmly together to focus on the creation of soft skills, character and resilience. This will better enable individuals to pursue their personal goals and ensure British business is well supplied with a broad spectrum of skilled labour.
A key opportunity to break both individuals and communities from various cycles of deprivation lies in securing sustainable work contracts and undergoing personal and professional development that will open up pathways to promotion and engaged compelling work. However, a major skills gap precludes many from entering into the workforce: many businesses are seeking skill-sets that are rare to come by, and many people have rare skill-sets and talent that many businesses do not recognise.
The financial crash of 2008 exposed Britain’s economic settlement as fundamentally broken. Inquiries undertaken immediately after the crisis exposed a culture in the banking industry that revered short-term profiteering over long-term national prosperity.
The past 30 years has seen the deepening concentration of ownership and a widening disparity of outcomes in the UK. Today, the country is divided between the few who are assetrich and receive exorbitant returns, and the many that have been denied access to meaningful assets while the relative worth of their wages has steadily declined. Recent analysis has put this divide into sharp perspective: the richest 1 per cent own as much in property, pensions and financial assets as the poorest 55 per cent, while this difference is further exacerbated by the ever-widening chasm in income levels. Unjustified by merit and result, but owing all to the leverage that built-in market advantage delivers, we are rapidly creating an economic serfdom that we thought long abolished.
Published: 24 May 2023This Essay Collection has been made possible with the kind support of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and has been edited by Dr Christopher Fear (Lecturer in Politics and International Relation,...Download as PDF
Published: 28 July 2022In the post-Brexit drive to establish the UK’s trading strategy, the nation has a chance to firm up its ambition to be a global leader in best practice in animal...Download as PDF
Big tech markets have become highly monopolised. This is a major growth-inhibiting and innovation-limiting issue for smaller tax-paying tech firms in the UK. Government recognition and awareness of this issue...Download as PDF
Published: 07 February 2022The Government has released its Levelling Up the United Kingdom White Paper, setting out a series of policy aims to empower and regenerate the ‘left behind’ areas of the UK....Download as PDF
Published: 04 October 2021The UK has a longstanding skills problem which is impacting on economic growth. Adult participation in learning has declined, particularly among part-time students, while fewer people in work are taking...Download as PDF
Published: 18 March 2021This report examines the current regulatory and legislative framework that governs the UK’s energy system, with a focus on renewable sources of energy and the issues that arise from the...Download as PDF
ResPublica is developing a vision for a place-based industrial strategy that addresses the UK’s regional productivity problem, and responds to competitiveness challenges post-Brexit. Working in...
ResPublica is examining whether Britain’s models of corporate governance are delivering for the country and for business. There is growing concern that short-term decision-making is...