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The Progressive Policy Think Tank

Future Proof: Britain in the 2020s

If we want a better future, we must move away from the status quo. To tackle new challenges in the coming decades, we must approach issues from new angles.

The issue

The world is facing an accelerating wave of economic, social and technological change. This includes the UK, which, as we move towards and enter the 2020s, faces not only these changes but also the challenge of negotiating its place in a post-Brexit world.

IPPR identified five powerful trends that will drive change in the 2020s – reshaping how Britons will live and work, reorganising our social, economic and political institutions, and redistributing power and reward in society.

Britain in the 2020s: Key facts - Greying society View data visualisation page

1. A demographic tipping point – demographics across the world are set to change. In the UK, the population is set to grow, age sharply and become increasingly diverse.

Britain in the 2020s: Key facts - Emerged markets View data visualisation page

2. An economic world transformed – the economic world order will become more fragile as globalisation evolves and trade patterns alter.

Britain in the 2020s: Key facts - Deficit View data visualisation page

3. Brexit, the aftershock – the economic implications of Brexit are likely to worsen the UK’s public finances, impacting the UK’s economy and living standards.

Britain in the 2020s: Key facts - Work, but not as we know it View data visualisation page

4. Technological transformation – advances in new technologies, including artificial intelligence systems and automation, will transform economic and social life.

Britain in the 2020s: Key facts - Green revolution? View data visualisation page

5. The shock of the Anthropocene – the world will increasingly run up against the limits of the physical capacity of the Earth’s natural resources.

Now is the time to seize the opportunity these trends produce, and harness the potential to shape technological and economic change so it creates a more abundant, democratic and equal society.

Our impact

Future Proof: Britain the 2020s begins to explore these five trends and the challenges they will create so we can better understand how our world is changing and what is driving this change. This increased understanding is key if we are to make the most of the opportunities these changes offer. It is just a starting point in developing the solutions needed to meet the challenges the 2020s will bring, but the message is being heard.

The report is one of IPPR's most popular publications and its launch was widely covered in the media, with pieces featuring in various outlets including The Guardian (online article shared over 7000 times), BBC News, The Sun, The Times and the Huffington Post. Politicians and policy makers are also engaging with us to discuss the challenges we’ve highlighted including Keir Starmer, Shadow Secretary for Brexit; Baroness Kramer, Liberal Democrat Lords Spokesperson (Treasury and Economy); and the government’s Behavioural Insight Unit. Reaching out to wider audiences with these messages and engaging key political figures is essential if we are going to meet the challenges we’ve identified.