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Your chance to shape Lib Dem policy on… the UK's response to Globalisation

March 28, 2008 12:12 PM
By Jeremy Hargreaves - Vice Chair of the Liberal Democrats' Federal Policy Committee in www.libdemvoice.org
Jeremy Hargreaves

Jeremy Hargreaves

Globalisation is changing our world. Liberal Democrats have generally welcomed it - as well as putting forward views about how we should seek to influence its development.

But it is a fact - and it has consequences for own domestic UK economy.

A policy working group chaired by Lord (Robin) Teverson is looking at what Britain needs to do respond to the processes of globalisation and to equip ourselves for the globalised twenty-first century economy.

Their consultation paper (http://consult.libdems.org.uk/globalisation/) - on which they are inviting comments from all party members - looks at several aspects of this.

A first group of questions are around the economic impacts within the UK. What infrastructural and technological developments are needed to enhance the UK's competitiveness? What is the right role for government in that - and what are the risks of state intervention here? How should governments properly seek to help British companies compete - and how can government and business best work in partnership to ensure the right skills among employees?

Then there are questions about how we should respond to some social aspects. What should our attitude be to increased economic migration? What are the best ways to address the resulting community cohesion questions - and what is the right role for welfare spending here? Does more welfare spending threaten the UK's competitiveness - or in fact help promote it, as there is some evidence from other countries to suggest?

A third set of issues is around the environmental impacts of globalisation on the UK's economy: how do we balance reducing the environmental impact of the UK's economy with our need for competitiveness? In particular how can we do that without simply outsourcing negative environmental impacts elsewhere? And how can we take advantage of the opportunities in this area for the UK's economy?

How can we promote the different regions of the UK to maintain and develop competitive industries within the globalised systems - and what should different levels of government do to help their local areas, and learn from each other?

Finally - and crucially, I believe - how can we politically manage globalisation? The process of globalisation, and national politicians saying they have no ability to respond in a global economy, and a sense that your job in Tewkesbury can be cut by a decision of a board in Tokyo, is perhaps the most disempowering feature for many people. How can we help people to feel involved in some of these processes - and actually be involved?

The working group would welcome your views on any of these issues, and they will help inform them in developing the proposals that they will bring to conference this autumn.