People who work hard and contribute to society should have good, fulfilling and well-paid jobs. Businesses and entrepreneurs who innovate and invest and behave responsibly to their employees and to the environment should be supported. But this is not how the UK is today: too many people can’t get on, and live secure, happy and fulfilling lives. The failure of governments to invest in infrastructure and skills has undermined productivity, and now the Conservatives threaten to make the vast majority of people poorer and punish business and enterprise through a hard Brexit.
Meanwhile, we are facing profound economic changes that demand new partnerships between government and business: the emergence of artificial intelligence requires new approaches to work, and the challenge of transitioning to a zero-carbon economy must be managed in a way that does not hurt the least well-off and makes the UK more competitive. The UK’s strengths in science, financial services, the creative industries and high-tech manufacturing mean that we should be well placed to build an economy that treats business as part of the solution and spreads opportunity to everyone.
However, neither Labour nor the Conservatives are capable of guiding the economy through these challenges. Both parties are reaching to the past for answers that are no longer relevant. The Conservatives are pursuing a deregulated, low-tax Brexit that will set our economy back for generations; Labour are facilitating Brexit while seeking to renationalise their way back to a form of 1970s socialism.
Liberal Democrats are now the natural home of business: we are the only party with a new plan for a brighter economic future. A plan to invest in climate-friendly infrastructure and technology and create new green businesses and jobs; a plan to build on our scientific, technological and creative strengths; a plan to stop Brexit and build a more prosperous, equal and inclusive economy. Whichever part of the country people are from and whatever stage of their career they are at, our plan will mean greater opportunities and good, well-paid jobs.
Our priorities in the next parliament will be:
- Investing £130 billion in infrastructure – upgrading our transport and energy systems, building schools, hospitals and homes, empowering all regions and nations of the UK and developing the climate-friendly infrastructure of the future.
- Enabling an adaptable, future-focused workforce – empowering individuals through new Skills Wallets worth £10,000 for every individual.
- Introducing a wellbeing budget and basing decisions for government spending on what will improve wellbeing as well as on economic and fiscal indicators.