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IPPR report says economic, social and technological change will reshape 2020s Britain

In a report, think tank the IPPR has analysed factors shaping the UK up to 2030. It sets out the choices that must be made now if these changes are to lead to a fairer and more equal society.

The report highlights key facts that will change the way we live in the 2020s:

  • As the population grows, the UK is set to age sharply and become increasingly diverse. The 65+ age group will grow by 33% by 2030.
  • The global economy and the institutions that govern it will come under intense pressure as the Global South rises in economic and political importance. Half of all large companies will be based in emerging markets;
  • Due to demographic trends, a structural deficit is likely to re-emerge by the mid-2020s, with the adult social care funding gap expected to hit £13 billion – 62% of the expected budget – in 2030/31;
  • Up to two-thirds of current jobs – 15 million – are at risk of automation. These changes in technology have the potential to create an era of widespread abundance, or a second machine age that radically concentrates economic power;
  • The income of high-income households is forecast to rise 11 times faster than for low income households in the 2020s;
  • Climate change, biodiversity degradation, and resource depletion mean we will increasingly run up against the limits of the physical capacity of the Earth’s natural systems;
  • The UK has the richest region in Northern Europe but also 9 of the 10 poorest regions.

The report can be downloaded here.

Mathew Lawrence, IPPR research fellow and report author, said, “By 2030, the effects of Brexit combined with a wave of economic, social and technological change will reshape the UK, in often quite radical ways.

“In the face of this, a politics of nostalgia, institutional conservatism and a rear guard defence of the institutions of 20th century social democracy will be inadequate. For progressives, such a strategy will not be robust enough to mitigate against growing insecurity, ambitious enough to reform Britain’s economic model, nor sufficiently innovative to deliver deeper social and political transformation. They would be left defending sand castles against the tide of history.

“Britain’s progressives should be ambitious, seeking to shape the direction of technological and social change. We must build a ‘high energy’ democracy that accelerates meaningful democratic experimentation at a national, city and local level, and also in the marketplace by increasing everyone’s say over corporate governance, ownership and power.”

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