The Department for International Development has seen an increase in its size over recent years as the British government attempts to invest at least 0.7% of government spending into its budget. The same is for the Foreign Office which receives £1.1 billion annually and the department for international trade which was founded at the beginning of the first May ministry.
Now that the United Kingdom is leaving the European Union, the government needs to rethink its strategy on how it promotes trade.
Before, the EU handled international trade as a bloc of countries with one trade deal for all nations. While it contributed the same proportion of its budget, 0.7%, it mainly invested in schemes regarding climate. While Climate Change is an important issue that needs to be tackled, it is not something that should be at the forefront of international development from a nation or economic bloc of nations, it should be mitigated through industrial strategy. Having an international development department and budget should be used to strengthen international trade and foreign direct investment into and from the nation. Leaving the European Union means that the UK will now have a chance to rebrand itself on the world stage, clearly defining its opportunities as an individual country.
On the point of climate change once again, it is a challenge, but a far greater challenge is creating sustainable economic growth, without this growth, the environmental problem of climate change will not come close to any form of mitigation. Sustainable international development is the key to sustainable economic growth. This growth will not only mean a more attractive market for investment but will also mean better living conditions, better health, better political stability and a better quality of life for citizens. It’s a spiral of success; the more appealing our country becomes for investment, the more investment it will get, which leads to a better quality of an economy locally, nationally and internationally.
While this article has been mentioning the positives of a perfected trade policy, it has not explained the implications of immigration with these new trade deals the UK will obtain. Immigration is another issue that is affecting the current century. The number of people coming into the country will decrease in the short term, with the long-term plan being unknown. However, once Britain can decide who comes into the country, it will also be a factor that will increase productivity.
The benefits of a truly individualised international policy are far greater than what could be achieved through the ‘one size fits all’, loose-fitting idea of internationalisation, the EU forced onto its member states. Of course, these aims can only be achieved if the change is brought by someone who knows what they’re doing.
Someone who knows what they are doing will have to perform radical changes on government organisation. Government structure needs to be redefined, with trade, diplomacy and development working closer together and running on the same objectives. The three global departments of Foreign Office, DFID and International Trade need to form a group where global strategy is united, strengthening the British image. This new group should not be exclusive to government but should be advised and even led by private companies, based in Britain who span the globe.
Capitalism has been the engine for trade and development in the most successful conditions over the past century. A new group of market capitalists set up in a Conservative government would lead to a lesser regulated, more free approach to investment that would be beneficial to all.
It should be clear that when international development is discussed its mainly focusing on countries in the southern hemisphere, countries in Africa, South America and Asia. Commonwealth countries are at risk of being taken out of the hand of British economic leadership and are being put at risk of falling under the spell of the emerging economies. Now Britain has a chance to strengthen its own personal, economic links to the commonwealth through foreign direct investment that is not restricted by the EU.
The key idea is about allowing Britain to have its individuality back, the benefits of having a more united international country that will deliver solutions to some of the biggest problems of the current century whilst reviving global British culture through strengthening ties with the Commonwealth once again.