The 2008 financial crisis and the years of recession and austerity since have exposed serious, longstanding weaknesses in the UK economy.
While the country has returned to modest growth and unemployment has fallen, nowhere near enough has been done to address these weaknesses. The UK continues to rely too heavily on consumer debt for growth; productivity growth has stalled; average wages have been stagnant for more than a decade; there hasn’t been a trade surplus for a generation; and we have one of the most regionally unbalanced economies in the world.
Now, as the UK negotiates the terms of Brexit, the country has a unique opportunity to reshape the economy. To thrive domestically and compete internationally , the UK must build an economy where growth is sustainable and broadly shared across the country.
To achieve this, governments will have to radically change their approach to the economy. This will have to take many forms, from helping employers and workers improve business productivity and innovation, to devolving more economic power to the nations and regions of the UK; from reforming the tax system to new ways of organising labour markets to help those on low pay and in insecure work.
To promote such change, IPPR launched its landmark Commission on Economic Justice in November 2016. It brings together leading figures from across society – from business, trade unions, academia and civil society – to examine the challenges facing the UK economy and make practical recommendations for reform.