As @RishiSunak announces the #Budget2021, @BorisJohnson today (3 Mar) sets out the government’s plan to "Build Back Better: Our plan for growth", supporting economic growth through significant investment in infrastructure, skills and innovation:
With hundreds of thousands of needles going into arms every day, our fantastic NHS is shifting the odds in our favour, protecting the people we love and finally offering real hope for the future.
These remarkable vaccines are giving us a realistic way forwards to restart our businesses and our lives.
As we do so, we must grasp the historic opportunity before us: to learn the lessons of this awful pandemic and build back better, levelling up across our United Kingdom and fixing the problems that have held back too many people for too long.
Collaboration between industry, science and government
I believe the formula for our success can be seen in the collaboration between industry, science and government that led to the production of the vaccines. Strong and active government investing massively in science and technology, coupled with a dynamic enterprise economy that embraces the instincts and know-how of the private sector.
This formula has been central to our success since the industrial revolution, when our great cities built the modern world and the Victorian boom sparked new centres of civic pride, filled with industry and inspiration.
In that age of invention no one single place could lay claim to being the cradle of innovation – because brilliant minds were advancing the cause of humanity with their genius in every part of our country.
A trail of invention and discovery can be traced across our land – from Richard Trevithick’s first steam powered rail journey in Merthyr Tydfil, to the electric carriage pioneered by Robert Anderson in Scotland; from the first man-made plastic by Alexander Parkes of Birmingham, to the first vaccine of Edward Jenner in Gloucestershire, whose institute today worked with AstraZeneca to produce Britain’s Covid vaccine.
All proof, if any were ever needed, that brains and talent are uniformly distributed.
Distribution of opportunity has failed to match distribution of talent
Yet in the post-industrial era the distribution of opportunity has failed to match that distribution of talent. While the UK has continued to punch well above its weight as the fifth biggest economy in the world, that punching – and with it jobs and opportunities – have been concentrated in London and the South East. Talent and resources have been sucked to the south so that for many people and places in Britain and Northern Ireland our economic model has just stopped working. People have been denied the opportunities to acquire the skills to work in new and dynamic industries, and there has been a chasm between invention and commercial application as too often “invented in Britain” has translated into “made elsewhere”.
This plan for growth is a call to arms to put this right. Our mission is to unleash the potential of our whole country and restore the energy and confidence of the Victorians themselves. Just as the government has done whatever it takes to support lives and livelihoods throughout the Covid crisis, so we will turn that same ambition and resolve to the task of our recovery. We will level up our country, so the map of our whole United Kingdom is lit up with competitive cities and vibrant towns that are centres of life – places people are proud to call home, with access to the services and the jobs they need to thrive.
Plan for Jobs will support new opportunities in every part of the country
We will back business large and small, including the millions of entrepreneurs and high street shops who have been hit hard by the pandemic and whose success will be pivotal to getting our economy moving again. Our Plan for Jobs will support new opportunities in every part of the country, while our Lifetime Skills Guarantee will enable anyone to acquire the skills to do those jobs, wherever they live and whatever their stage of life.
We will redress Britain’s historic underinvestment in infrastructure, with £600 billion of gross public sector investment over the next five years, so our United Kingdom becomes a truly connected kingdom. We will make our country a science and technology superpower and the best possible place to create green jobs with our Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution.
And we will seize the new opportunities of a Global Britain outside the European Union to make our own regulations, to access global talent, and to forge new trade deals for Britain all around the world. Above all, we will embrace the instincts and know-how of the wealth creators, those in the private sector who invest money and take risks on new ideas that lead to new jobs, new industry and some of the greatest advances humanity has ever known.
It is human genius and ingenuity that is beating Covid and it is by unlocking that genius and ingenuity across our whole county that we will build back better. In doing so, this plan for growth aspires to serve and support everyone in our United Kingdom, whoever you are and wherever you live.
Boris Johnson, Prime Minister