We want a country that is open and secure. These two things are not mutually exclusive. We believe we need to be open to new ideas and the application of new technology to some modern-day challenges. Questions of openness in this context inevitably raise the subject of immigration. We believe immigration is a positive force for the UK. But we also know that it is not an unconditional right and must be controlled. We endorse the robust use of existing immigration controls, including some that have been available for governments to use for many years but that have not been. New immigrants bring a diverse labour force into the country which has benefited our economy and our wider society - in agriculture, the arts, business, education, the NHS, science and technology.
EU immigrants have paid more in taxes than they have drawn in benefits. Many immigrants are working-age people, and their presence has helped reduce the ratio of retired to working people. It is vital that immigrants are treated like all other UK citizens – no worse, no better. Like every area of public life, there must be a balance of rights and responsibilities. Renew’s values allow us to formulate a coherent response to immigration that is not hampered by any rigid political ideology and can be crafted to enhance the opportunities and experience of both immigrants and hosts.
Openness is also relevant to the increasing amount of personal data produced and collected every day. In a society shaped by technological connectivity, online rights are essential in any democracy. Corporate influence on governments has never been greater; Renew will ensure that the civil rights of UK citizens are maintained and reinforced. By using ethical AI to regulate the sale of personal data, we can create a legal framework for digital transparency fit for the 21st century. Citizens need to know that their private data and personal rights are protected in a rapidly changing world. We want a clear and transparent path that reveals what businesses - and the government - is doing with our data.
Openness implies a freedom to speak one’s thoughts. Free speech is often said to be under threat. Renew believes in the importance of free speech and will work to protect it in the real world and online. Renew does not believe people need a right of protection against being offended (short of behaviour that would constitute an offence). Renew will build on the liberal history of the UK to protect minorities against discrimination and enhance equal opportunities for all. We recognize that such activities and infringements can be undertaken by businesses, social organizations, private individuals - and the government. Freedom of expression and our economic, social and cultural rights depend on our ability to engage with technology in an open and confident way.
Concentrate on protecting and supporting communities by:
- Reforming the UK’s immigration laws based on national needs, for countries with which the UK has not agreed a free-movement deal. This could be a hybrid points-based system so that people are offered roles on employer-selected criteria.
- Enforcing the rights we already have under EU rules to remove non-active EU citizens after 3 months where appropriate
- Carefully directing resources needed to mitigate problems caused by strained public services
- Increasing the ‘Migrant Impact Fund’, to improve the direct funds to areas where they have a high numbers of migrants, to relieve the pressure on public services
- Reversing the spending cuts on the Border Force to ensure that serious criminals can be prevented from entering the UK or quickly detained and deported
Protect our data by:
- Working to guarantee citizens’ rights on the internet, and extending digital education and technological literacy, working with large tech firms to support training programmes
- Innovating how we address use and abuse of our data. Whilst grateful for GDPR, the evolving nature of technology (especially biometric) and uncertainties associated with the GDPR’s treatment of biometric data warrants attention and regulation.
Supporting and reviewing the Overseas Aid budget by:
- Maintaining meaningful and worthwhile foreign aid while ensuring that UK taxpayers can be guaranteed a valuable return on their investment through demonstrable improvements to development and quality of life in recipient countries
- Revisiting an unproductive aid provision strategy