It is important for our country to capitalise on its greatest strengths and exploit 21st century innovation and advances for the benefit of all citizens. Our current crisis shows we must also focus on redressing imbalances in our society created by ten years of austerity and a lacklustre economy.
We have great disparities in growth and opportunity between north and south, rural and coastal areas and big cities, rich and poor, young and old. Living standards and wages have only improved for some but not the majority
Globalisation, free trade and technological developments have been positive overall but some communities have felt the costs without the benefits.
Public services, under-resourced and not upgraded for the 21st century, have come under huge and unsustainable pressure.
The EU has been wrongly blamed for many of our problems but the solution lies in our hands.
While we face huge challenges, we also have huge opportunities. Time and again in history, we used our assets to reform and rebuild – to Renew. Whether it was the invention of free trade, the welfare state, the NHS, state education, insurance, the tank, the television or the publicly traded company, innovation has consistently driven the country forward. The 2012 London Olympics allowed the UK to showcase our talents, diversity and traditions to the world as we emerged from the global financial crisis.
We need to find this spirit now and use all our talents to revitalise our economy.
Renew is not bound by ideology and can use the best and latest thinking to find pragmatic solutions for the whole country.
More people have been lifted out of poverty by economic growth than anything else, creating opportunities for all – more jobs, new industries, higher wages and better conditions. But the benefits must be fairly distributed and sustainable, environmentally and economically, if we are to pass on a solid legacy to future generations.
London’s economy has been an engine for growth and investment and a lightning rod for international talent. It has more European headquarters than anywhere else in the EU, providing the UK with market dominance. This generates enormous revenue to spend across the whole country. We must not lose this asset but we can do more to focus attention on other areas across the country so they progress in the same way.
Our policy development revolves around these priorities.
- Making the UK the best place in the world to invest and start a business and the destination of choice for overseas talent in the worlds of culture, academia, science, engineering, design, technology and finance.
- Ensuring business is partnered with government to ensure the best possible allocation of capital.
- Investing in infrastructure outside the capital to build a more integrated regional economy;
- Investing in science and research so we better support British centres of excellence in generating the ideas that underpin industry, and ensuring synergy with the best minds in Europe and the world.
- Investing in green energy and low carbon industry as fundamental to the protection of our resources, environment and health as well as our prosperity. Clean, renewable energy, supported by new technologies, will be a key growth industry and a bulwark against climate change. We will encourage innovation in packaging with a review of the use of plastics and introduce more incentives to reduce food waste and the drain of prized resources.
- Investing in technology: Today’s fourth industrial revolution is fusing the physical, digital and biological worlds. We mean to be part of this revolution as the world’s innovation superpower. We will invest in infrastructure and research labs in essential technologies, such as batteries, biotechnology and artificial intelligence.
- Establishing a UK Investment Bank to take equity stakes in UK businesses and incentivise investment, with a focus on green technologies and investment outside London.
- Creating a meaningful minimum wage, rigorously enforced. We believe business should have access to talent from around the world but relying primarily on low-cost labour from abroad is damaging and unsustainable. Our workers need protection from unscrupulous employers as well as the opportunity to upgrade their skills over their lifetime.
- Increasing housebuilding to ensure housing is affordable will be key, using evolving technologies to provide environmentally friendly solutions.
Immigrants help enrich our society as valued members of our communities and contributors to many aspects of public life and the economy. But the pace of immigration over the past decade is a legitimate concern for some and needs to be addressed in honest debate. Better managed immigration will help maintain benefits while mitigating any impacts on wages, public services and community integration. This could include implementing existing EU rules such as the repatriation of those who have not found work in a reasonable time frame. Now, the UK allows EU-skeptics to wrongly portray freedom of movement as uncontrolled migration. But the government makes no effort to track or register migrants as they arrive so has no way of knowing how long they’ve been in the country. Other EU countries do this, under existing EU rules.
We need to re-emphasise the valuable role all our diverse communities play in every aspect of our society. We must recognise the hurt felt by many non-UK nationals – hundreds of thousands of people who have contributed to society and been part of the fabric of the UK for many decades. The 1.5 million British nationals living in the EU and enjoying wide-ranging freedoms are also concerned about their future. We must counteract inflammatory media coverage, distortions and negative stereotypes that undermine community cohesion. We must ensure we remain the tolerant, diverse country we have always been.
Boosting key public services
The last decade has placed many public services under unsustainable pressure. In turn, this has forced many services into a downward spiral of short-term firefighting at the expense of long-term solutions
We will use the dividend from cancelling Brexit to improve funding of public services
We will target initial funding at major investment programmes rather than increases in current costs but recognise the damage done by the imposition of public sector pay caps for so long.
We believe the NHS requires significant additional spending. However, funding alone will not establish a sustainable, high-quality service. Significant review and reform is required but not only of the NHS. We will review health and social care provision from the ground up.