Britain in 2030: Foreword

by Anneliese Dodds

 

The COVID-19 pandemic is the biggest challenge our country has faced in a generation. The way we responded showed time and again how we are stronger, together. Across our country, people united to look after their neighbours, volunteered to help our NHS and the vaccine effort, and supported local businesses as they adapted to new ways of working. Our friends in the trade union movement worked with business and government to build ventilators in record time, and to design a furlough scheme that protected jobs through the crisis. And our Labour councils, Labour mayors, Labour Police and Crime Commissioners and the Labour government in Wales were right there in our communities, helping them get through the crisis.

Britain showed we achieve incredible things when we come together. As we look ahead to the coming decade, we must harness the spirit of the last eighteen months to start building a better future for everyone. That’s what Stronger Together, the roadmap to develop key policies ahead of the next General Election, is all about.

Britain in 2030 identifies the six big challenges facing our country over the next decade that the winner of the next General Election will have to confront. Whether it is making our country fit for the green and digital future, supporting better jobs and better work, ensuring safe and secure communities, delivering world-class public services that work from the start, creating a future where families come first, or ensuring a successful future role for Britain in the world – these are challenges no future government can afford to duck. We need to overcome them, and bring Britain together for a fairer, greener and more secure future. This report explains how we can start to do so.

Before we can take on the challenges of tomorrow, we must first understand the situation our country faces today. So this report examines the trends emerging from over a decade of Conservative rule. In that time, they have weakened our country’s foundations, entrenched insecurity and stripped back our vital public services. This left our country horribly exposed when the pandemic hit. However, the Conservatives appear unable to learn the lessons of the crisis, continuing to make the same mistakes.

Britain in 2030 considers the implications of this poor track record for the years to come. In this report we set out the evidence on current trends – trends affecting our working and family lives, the transition to net zero and the digital future, the safety and security of our communities, the public services we all rely on and our country’s international standing.

Another, very different future is possible. Labour is clear-eyed about the problems Britain faces in the coming decade and determined to face up to them. Each chapter of this report outlines what life could look like if we have risen to the challenges and seized the opportunities of the future.

We should make Britain a global leader in the green economy, supporting new jobs and industries with a managed, fair and prosperous transition that leaves no one behind. As Keir has said, our communities and planet can no longer afford inaction – we must treat the climate crisis with the seriousness it deserves.

It’s also essential that our country rewards a proper day’s work with a proper day’s pay. We need a New Deal for Working People, with rights from day one in a new job, and insidious practices like ‘fire and rehire’ outlawed.

We also need to strengthen our communities and make them safer, with more police presence to crack down on crime and anti-social behaviour and local people given far more control over their local area.

We must ensure our health and education services are world-class once again, backing our NHS, investing in and reforming social care, and placing our schools at the very heart of their communities.

And we need to work to make every part of our country a great place to grow up in and grow old in, with action to put families – in all their diversity – first, as Keir has said he is determined to do.

Finally, we have to ensure a leading role for Britain on the world stage which delivers for people at home too, with a 21st century trade policy, a restored international aid budget and an unshakeable commitment to NATO.

Britain in 2030 sketches out these major challenges for our country and how we can start to face up to them. It provides a start rather than the final word, on what is needed if we are to build a fairer, greener and more secure future for Britain. But as we look ahead to the challenges of the next decade, what this report makes clear is that Britain simply cannot afford more years of the Conservatives and their ‘sink or swim’ mentality. To deliver the change our country needs, we need to rally together – a principle that is central to what the Labour Party stands for. The next stage of this project will be about developing the key policies we will need to deliver the better future for Britain that we have started to set out in this report. We will consult widely when we do, because we know that we are stronger when we work together.

The report draws on a series of events and conversations that have taken place across our movement. I’m grateful to all those Labour members who took part in our different Stronger Together events over the last months; to all the members of the Shadow Cabinet and Parliamentary Labour Party who have contributed; to our friends in the trade union movement, who confront many of the challenges highlighted in this report every single day; to the think tanks and socialist societies who have formed such an important part of the conversation; to the National Policy Forum members whose work has been fundamental to this report; and to our amazing Labour Party staff, both for their help in compiling this report and for everything they do every day to deliver a Labour Government.

Our country is at a crossroads. This is our chance to take on the challenges of the post-crisis world and grasp the opportunities of the future. To build a future that everyone in Britain can be proud of. That task is beyond the Conservatives, but Labour has done it before: creating the NHS, introducing a national minimum wage, slashing child poverty and bringing peace to Northern Ireland.

Together, we can do it again.

Anneliese Dodds MP
Chair of Stronger Together