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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: 05 October 2015Unfinished Business: The ownership agenda, thirty years on, is a ResPublica Essay published on Monday 5th October 2015 by ResPublica and trade body Co-operatives UK. It finds that more people...Download as PDF
Published: 23 September 2015ResPublica, in partnership with Age UK, The Mineral Wool Insulation Manufacturers Association and the Energy Bill Revolution, sets out a bold set of recommendations for energy efficiency policy. Britain’s energy...Download as PDF
Published: 16 June 2015ResPublica, in partnership with GallifordTry, Peabody, Places for People and Trowers & Hamlins, sets out a radical vision of double devolution to tackle the housing crisis. We are building less...Download as PDF
Published: 23 March 2015We are facing a cold homes crisis. One in every ten households in England are in fuel poverty; 2.28 million homes are struggling to keep warm. Many of those on...Download as PDF
Published: 03 November 2014ResPublica’s report ‘Climbing the Credit Ladder: Short-term loans as a path to long-term credit‘ was launched on Monday 3rd November in Parliament by Cathy Jamieson MP, Shadow Financial Secretary to...Download as PDF
Published: 24 July 2014A new ResPublica publication, launched today, reveals that businesses looking to become energy suppliers face major barriers to entry in the UK. 12 new businesses have entered into the domestic...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...