Why We're Relaunching Our Guide to Post-Brexit Britain - Latest Global News

Why We’re Relaunching Our Guide to Post-Brexit Britain

This article is an onsite version of our The State of Britain newsletter. Premium subscribers can sign up here to receive the weekly newsletter. Standard subscribers can upgrade to Premium or explore all FT newsletters here

Good day and welcome, not to “Brexitland”, but to the renewed, transformed and rejuvenated country State of Great Britain: a newsletter that covers a wider range than its predecessor, but also covers many related topics.

Why? Because it’s time to begin the third leg of Britain’s post-2016 journey. A newsletter that began as “Brexit Briefing” and then morphed into “Britain After Brexit” is now ready to provide more comprehensive coverage of post-Brexit Britain.

As regular readers know, Brexit is never “done”. However, the immediate major structural adjustments have now also been made, with the last major adjustment being the introduction of post-Brexit border controls on EU imports last month.

Of course, many of Britain’s challenges can still be traced back to Brexit. It is also true, and I have tried again and again, that the tensions caused by Brexit will persist and continue to have an impact over time, from carbon taxes to weaker goods exports.

But it is also true that we are approaching a turning point. If the polls are even remotely accurate, the original authors are on the verge of leaving the political scene, or at least being pushed to the sidelines.

And as Sir Keir Starmer’s Labor government will soon discover, a slavish recourse to Brexit will not be an excuse for the UK’s problems.

Starmer’s red lines, which rule out a return to the EU single market or a customs union, tacitly admit this. There are limits to what can be achieved by tinkering with the post-Brexit deal; The search for growth and stability will take place primarily at home.

Of course, it remains to be seen how far Labor will turn back to Europe. Even if this is the case, significant changes that have a tangible impact on the UK economy will be implemented over years, not weeks or months.

The upcoming election campaign (the fake war has already begun) is therefore the natural moment to take stock of the “state of Britain” after 14 years in which austerity and Brexit, a global pandemic and the war in Ukraine have combined to bring it to an end abandoned in a state of disrepair.

Both physically – a lack of houses and reservoirs; from inner-city trains; and power grid connection points — and institutionally, from regulators struggling to get products to market to a creaky justice system and a media landscape plagued by culture wars.

It’s not just that Britain is “in a state”, especially if you live outside London and in the affluent south-east, but the state itself is doing poorly – from Whitehall and Westminster at the center to local governments hit by budget cuts.

In a world where finding more money cannot be the whole solution, upgrading the state at both national and local level, from changes in Whitehall to reforms to the planning system, the NHS and new industrial and investment policies, central to the delivery of Starmer’s goals, will be the “Five Missions” or six “first steps” as they have now become.

This week I listened to Labor grandee Lord Peter Mandelson give a speech at the Britain Renewed conference in which he predicted that Starmer will need to lead a revolution in government if he is to achieve his goals. In his words:

I like the “missions,” but I also believe they cannot be achieved through traditional cabinet committees and writing sessions [Whitehall] Departments. . . It will require a fairly frantic and disruptive restructuring of how government operates to provide that sense of direction.

This revolution will also happen at local level, as the importance of city-region mayors increases and “game-changing” devolution deals give UK regions more autonomy to shape spending plans and policies in areas such as transport and skills.

For us, this means both analyzing Labour’s future policy prescriptions as they emerge and anticipating the national political battles that lie ahead if a Starmer-led government is to bring about enough change to earn the confidence of one to maintain an expectant electorate.

To do that, State of Great Britain will draw on the broad expertise of the FT’s UK network of regional and political journalists – Jen Williams in the Midlands and North of England, Jude Webber in Dublin and Simeon Kerr in Scotland.

Our public policy correspondent, Laura Hughes, will look at the NHS, childcare and intergenerational injustice, while William Wallis adds a perspective on local government issues and Alistair Gray reports on the UK legal and justice system, which is backed by international investors is so appreciated. Amy Borrett from our data visualization team will also add insights from reviewing government data releases.

And where the UK’s journey is limited to Brexit-related matters, I will not hesitate to return to that discussion if it is essential to the future of the UK.

After all, every newsletter depends on its readers. Your input, tips and advice on what we should pay attention to are greatly appreciated and appreciated. In fact, they are our lifeblood. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch. Let us know what you think: [email protected]

Great Britain in numbers

You see a snapshot of an interactive graphic. This is most likely because you are offline or JavaScript is disabled in your browser.

This week’s graphic comes from the Migration Advisory Committee report, which examines whether the UK’s graduate visa system is being abused and – if so – whether it needs to be reformed.

To this question from Home Secretary James Cleverly, the MAC responded with a categorical “no”, the strength of which surprised everyone, including the companies and universities that had campaigned against further restriction of the route.

The key finding of the report was that foreign graduates found work at a salary level roughly equivalent to that of domestic graduates, debunking the myth that they were all working shifts in nursing homes or making lattes.

The (intra-Conservative party) row on this issue has highlighted the growing contradiction between ambitions for a “Global Britain” and the increasingly inward-looking, Farageist faction in the party.

The same government that says it wants to turn the UK into a science superpower (or, in the latest version, build a $1 trillion British Microsoft) is also busy creating a hostile environment for foreign graduates to accomplish.

As outlined in the MAC report (p. 40), other competitor countries, including Australia, Canada, Germany and the United States, have programs that allow foreign students to stay and look for work after graduation. That was the point of the British plan. To make Britain competitive.

As the graph shows, such routes actually increase the number of graduates the UK attracts. When the UK abolished the old system in 2012, its share of the global market fell, but returned to trend with the entry into force of the Graduate Visa Route in 2021.

The decision to abolish the right of foreign graduates to bring family members while increasing the salary threshold for skilled worker visas from £26,000 to £38,000, meaning entry-level jobs are now out of reach for graduates, turns back the clock.

And it’s not just universities (which need foreign graduates for their financial well-being) that are complaining, but also the CEOs of major companies such as Anglo American and Siemens UK, who have written to Rishi Sunak to stress that they need strong universities to recruit.

And as the British Chambers of Commerce pointed out, smaller businesses also benefit from the scheme, as foreign graduates can work for two years without having to go through Home Office red tape to become a sponsor or reach the (newly inflated) target of £38,700 reach for a skilled worker visa.

However, according to MAC, there is one area where increased net migration is actually putting pressure on national resources, namely the housing and rental markets.

However, the answer to this problem is not to repel skilled immigrants coming to the UK on graduate visas, but rather to reform the planning system and build more houses. This is a theme that State of Britain will certainly return to.


The state of Great Britain is edited by Georgina Quach Today. Premium subscribers can Login here delivered straight to your inbox every Thursday afternoon. Or you can take out a premium subscription Here. Read previous editions of the newsletter here.

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