THE British economy is on its knees. Inflation and interest rates are on an upwards trajectory, unemployment remains worrying and despite record wage growth, salaries are not competitive with international markets; many are looking abroad to for jobs that meet their ambitions and lifestyles.
It would be fairly simple to address this simply as a fiscal or monetary policy matter. Year after year we have seen a succession of Prime Ministers and Chancellors promise that they will ‘grapple’ with rising economic difficulties and ‘plan for the long term’. Whatever political persuasion the Government of the day has been, they have plain and simply failed.
While the UK has long been compared with the US and the ‘special relationship’ is well documented, the difference between the two economies, cultures, entrepreneurial spirit and outlook are nothing short of night and day.
When it comes to tax regimes, even under a Democratic Presidency, the US is relatively low, while the UK’s remains punitive for individuals and businesses. Partner that with relatively flexible labour laws, and the dynamic US economy promotes freedom of business and entrepreneurialism to a degree that the UK could only wish for.
Average wages across the Atlantic remain 50 per cent higher than those in the UK, unemployment is lower and the willingness to invest in business in the US has underscored the nation as a hub for economic growth and dynamism.
What is the real reason behind this? Why is the UK trailing immeasurably?
Britain was once a nation of shopkeepers, market stall owners and genuine grafters. A nation built on the back of industry with the perspective that hard work paid off in the long run. This is a similar vision encapsulated in the American Dream.
However, where the American Dream has pervaded every section of society and is deep-rooted in the culture, the UK has fallen flat on its face, forgotten the hard work that built the economy to where it was, and largely turned into a nation of whiners.
The entrepreneurial spirit of the UK has died and gone abroad to more welcoming climes; it is imperative for the economic health and future of the nation that we win it back. This is only achievable if we have a complete and utter shift in mindset.
Business owners and wealth generators must be seen as positive impacts on society: it is not enough passively to accept that businesses will be created, we must actively encourage the next generation to get out there and start them. Underpinning this should be the notion that owning your own business is a laudable aim; only then will we see a reinvigoration of the times when people would go out on their own and do something for themselves.
America is the guiding light and prime example of this concept. Coupled with a reduction in taxes for businesses and incentives for those creating new ones, the UK can begin to rebuild an economy that was once the envy of the globe. A loosening of labour laws will allow for a more dynamic economy that can see people shift from business to business, providing skillsets in places that need them and generating wealth in places that want it.
The British dream may not have fully died. It may be in a temporary slumber. However, if we are going to reignite it and emulate the economic prosperity created for those who want it in the US, we must change Britain’s culture, and do it quickly.