On the 17th January, PM Theresa May addressed her plans for a ‘smooth Brexit’ and the government’s vision for a new, global Britain post-Brexit.
The speech promoted the UK as a powerful advocate for business and envisioned Britain as a future leader in free trade and free markets around the globe. For a truly Global Britain, the UK must undergo social, economic and educational reform for a country that is stronger, fairer and more successful post-Brexit.
The Prime Minister hopes for a phased transition during the two-year negotiation process with EU leaders. Stating that no agreement is better than a bad agreement, Mrs. May is optimistic for a Brexit deal that results in free trade within the EU and the freedom to strike trade agreements with countries around the globe.
May’s confident and daring speech spoke of how negotiating tariff-free trade within the EU would also be a deal that is in the best interest for not only the UK, but also the success of the Union. The prime minister made it clear that leaving the EU means rescinding membership of the Single Market. This is so that Britain can negate its own laws as per the demand of the British public, and make free trade agreements with countries outside of the EU, too.
Prime Minister May is confident for a brighter future for the UK. Negotiation plans with world leaders are already underway, with New Zealand’s prime minister warmly welcoming a ‘quality free-trade agreement’ once the UK has left the EU. Forging successful and powerful alliances with world leaders is critical for a prosperous Global Britain.
While the prime minister’s plans are optimistic, many of the EU’s leaders value the Union’s preservation above all else, and this may strain the UK’s relationship with the EU. The trade negotiation with the EU itself is not the primary issue since PM May intends to maintain current European laws in the UK. The difficulty the UK Government will face during this time lies in working around the exclusivity that being an EU member brings, and negotiating a deal that benefits the UK without being an EU member.
The Modern Industrial Strategy will be implemented as part of Prime Minister May’s vision for a global Britain. The 10 pillar plan proposes to develop technical education that equips the future generation with the skills and knowledge they need to thrive in higher paid jobs. Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Greg Clark, said ‘We have more university graduates than the OECD average, but also more people with low levels of literacy and numeracy. We must address these long “tails” of under-performance if we are to build a strong economy and ensure sustainable growth in living standards.’
Improvement of infrastructure is at the center of the government’s plan to boost the economy. Upgrading digital, energy, transport and water infrastructure will see central government investment serving local growth effectively.
The strategy also looks to support businesses and entrepreneurs across the nation to start and grow. This means ensuring access to the right finance whilst encouraging UK exports and inward investment. It promises to build on local strengths, addressing factors that prevent areas from reaching their full economic potential.
Prime Minister May vision for a Global Britain Post- Brexit expressed a clear signal to world leaders that the UK wants to be a global leader in free trade, and delivers a strategy that intends to move confidently forward. With the UK being the fifth largest economy in the world and being the biggest foreign investor in the United States, a global Britain is in sight.