Brexit gives the UK a chance to lead the world to economic, political and personal freedom, argues Rory Broomfield.
This week, the Institute of Economic Affairs hosted the UK launch of the Heritage Foundation’s 2017 Index of Economic Freedom in London. Once again, no member state of the European Union was classed as “free” in the study. However, the index helps to illustrate how Brexit might give the UK the opportunity to lead the world in economic, political and personal freedom.
The Heritage Foundation’s 2017 Index of Economic Freedom has set the standard. It has shown the way. In its 23rd year, the Index has once again illustrated how nations such as Hong Kong, Singapore and Switzerland have been able to become the richest, most competitive and outward looking economies in the world. It has, alongside this, pointed to how the UK can be the global Britain both the government and the British people desire through adopting reforms that increase the prosperity of people, not just in the UK, but globally.
The principle reason the UK can become freer is through trade. The Index highlights that countries such as Singapore and New Zealand have increased their trade by cutting regulations, government spending and opened their markets to investment and growth opportunities that were not present previously.
Of course, the UK is already a beacon of foreign investment, with high rankings in overall investment, trade and financial freedom. Where it can, though, increase its potential is through domestic reforms to help decouple business regulation from the EU to allow for markets within the UK to develop and adapt to a new, more competitive, global environment. This is what Lord Lawson was talking about when he talked of the need to break free from 90 per cent of EU law that is holding back SMEs in the UK (i.e. most UK businesses). By doing so, the UK can become more diverse, competitive, innovative and prosperous.
The government can also help the UK grow through reduced spending. The big fear for the UK – Brexit or otherwise – is that government keeps on increasing the UK’s debt. In a world where changes in interest rates could mean large jumps in debt repayments, the government needs reduce government spending and the overall tax burden to help increase the nation’s financial health.
If we solve these issues – and create a society that allows for increased innovation, flexibility and change, the UK can (and I hope will) overtake over nations – both large and small – to become the shining example of how a developed and complex economy can reform to bring benefits, not just to themselves, but to the world.
This is because freeing markets don’t just increase the prosperity of those within the state or territory in question – it helps to lift us others who are involved in the process. This is most accurately demonstrated in the “I, pencil” concept described by the economist Milton Friedman and animated by the Competitive Enterprise Institute. In doing so, as illustrated in the Index, people become more inter-connected, opportunities increase, poverty decreases and people become healthier, more educated and happier.
But how can we take the lead in kick-starting this process?
Discussion over the best way for the lead is exactly the focus of this year’s Freedom Festival from 17th-19th March in the Marsham Court Hotel, Bournemouth.
At the Festival, there will be a range of thinkers and doers coming to speak and interact with the audience over a weekend of fun and serious debates.
With speakers including the Heritage Foundation’s Ted Bromund, Ruth Lea CBE and Secretary of State for International Development, the Rt. Hon Priti Patel MP, along with many others, there will be the chance to help inform the agenda and help make Britain free again.
Tickets are still available for the Festival but hotel places are going quick. To have a wonderful debate filled weekend by the seaside, book now and help us to lead the way forward for freedom.