Brexit Britain braced to lead next Industrial Revolution

The technological, digitally driven, revolution represents an epochal change in how we live and work. Brexit gives us the flexibility to embrace and profit from this far better than if we were to remain shackled to the outdated rust bucket that is the European Union

Brexit fast forward
Joel Casement
On 1 March 2019 04:44

In the past two years, every Briton and every British business has been fixated on Brexit. Whatever side of the divide you find yourself on, it has been frustrating.

Now is the time to look forward, and see how we, as a reborn nation after leaving the EU, can make our future prosperous. It is time for Britain to be bold and lead in the ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’.

It is an industrial revolution based on technological advancement -- a Technological Revolution. It will increase efficiency and create jobs in ways we can’t as yet fully comprehend. World economies will see the emergence of new industries. Conventional industries -- such as farming and fishing -- will be transformed, so output increases whilst the environment is protected; profits will rise as investment increases.

Future growth will depend on technological advancement. Those who do not embrace the rapid development of technology will be left behind equally as rapidly. Investing in technology is investing in future prosperity.

Britain’s maritime industry, the bastion from which we led the original industrial revolution, has the potential to once again be a key driver for the British economy. According to Transport Secretary Chris Grayling, autonomous and semi-autonomous shipping is set to make its debut as part of a technological revolution.

This will put us at the forefront of maritime technology, giving us a new market to lead and profit from. Britain can transform the industry, making it safer, cleaner and faster than ever before.

British farming was one of the most constrained and shackled industries by the EU, exacerbated by militant French farmers. The Technological Revolution will ensure British farming can become the most efficient in Europe. We shall marry quality and innovation in this staple industry. Britain will lead the way in “Agri-tech”.

Technology has been developed in Britain which distinguishes between weeds and crops, and between healthy and diseased leaves. This will allow farmers to pinpoint the correct fertilizers and pesticides, rather than douse a whole acre with chemicals. This will be cost saving, as it is a far more efficient use of resources.

This is just one example of how we can advance in the future. There are British technologies covering Fitbit style wearables for cows, farm management software platforms, and gene-editing robots. New technologies will drive profitability and vastly improved productivity. This will reinvigorate a sector which must set its sights on feeding a global population of more than 9 billion people by 2050.

Britain must look at not only feeding ourselves, but helping to feed the world. We will no longer be held back by the EU. Soon, technology will not be a limiting factor - our only limitation will be our ambition.

Post-Brexit, the Environment Secretary, Michael Gove has said the Government will replace the current subsidy system with a model which rewards ‘public good’ -- such as environmental stewardship -- rather than simple mass production. Additionally, the Business Secretary, Greg Clark, has announced £90 million to stimulate agriculture and farming, which contributes £14.3 billion to the economy.

The Chancellor Philip Hammond, the most prominent Brexit doubter has said: "When we look back at this period, we will see that how we have adapted and adopted new technology to our business will be a bigger driver of our prosperity than Brexit."

Farming and maritime are not the only sectors of the economy which will benefit from the Technological Revolution. The technology sector will thrive in its own right, creating jobs and growth. Artificial Intelligence (AI) is one of the biggest commercial opportunities and it’s estimated it will add £232 billion to the UK’s GDP by 2030.

This is a staggering 10.3% addition to GDP. AI, simulating human intelligence processes by machines and computer systems, will be a revolution for our NHS in particular. Once such process, by British firm Cognetivity, is using AI to detect dementia in its earliest stages.

Jobs will be created through the UK’s 5G network infrastructure, which will boost the productivity of British business. The Government has already announced its Artificial Intelligence Sector Deal – a £1 billion funding package backed by 50 leading businesses and organisations. The aim is to turn our already world-leading research into a major export in the coming years. This will create jobs and boost the productivity of British business.

The Technological Revolution is an opportunity which Britain cannot afford to miss. Aside from Brexit itself, securing our place as a global leader, and as an innovative and technologically advancing nation, is the most important issue facing the UK in the next decade.

We will be able to control our borders, allowing the very best and brightest to come to Britain to bolster our research sector. Control of our laws will give us freedom from EU restrictions on compliance and on information sharing.

The technologies we create and develop will be ours to benefit from. Control over our money will allow the British Government to invest in the Technological Revolution free from EU limits on subsidies. We will have a unique opportunity under a World Trade Organisation Brexit to invest part or the entirety of the £39 billion Brexit dividend on new technologies, giving our economy a triumphant start after Brexit.

We must be unrelenting in our pursuit of the brave new world which the Technological Revolution will usher in. In the words of Alfred Lord Tennyson’s epic masterpiece Ulysses: “We must follow knowledge like a sinking star, beyond the utmost bound of human thought.”

By embracing the Technological Revolution we will secure the bright and prosperous future Brexit extends to us when we Get Britain Out of the EU.

Joel Casement is a Research Executive at cross-party, grassroots campaign Get Britain Out


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