Fighting where we can’t win (yet)

In the coming election the we will be focussing  (sic) on the Blue Wall seats where we have a chance to beat the Tories.  I have no quarrel with that, although it does leave those of us who have spent most of our lives fighting Labour feeling a little bit out in the cold.  I accept that  the priority in this election must be to restore our position in Parliament as the third party.  The penalty of being fourth has become plainly evident in the last nine years when, however sensible and relevant our parliamentarians and spokespersons have been, the media have barely noticed.

However,  if  (when) the prioritising of the Blue Wall  has proved a resounding success, that does not mean the rest of the UK can be neglected.

Liberal Democracy is in danger, not just in this country through the shredding of the “good chaps theory of government” by Johnson and his cronies, but in other parts of the world, not least in part of Europe, South America, and, perhaps most dangerously of all, in the USA.  As one of the nations that has pioneered both Liberalism and Democracy, we, the inheritors of the tradition, have a duty to fight for its survival.

For this reason, I believe it is important to use the coming election, not to attract votes for token candidates of whom the electorate might never hear of again, but to attract activists who are inspired by our values – once they know what they are.

So we should not waste the “free post”  which is the great gift of general election to distribute leaflets excessively highlighting the families, hobbies, virtues and worthiness of our candidates and how they will fight valiantly for the re-gilding of the town-hall clock and other hot local topics.  Rather we need to spell out the values that are fundamental to Liberalism.  I suggest the following five areas.

A Fairer Britain

Britain is one of the most unequal societies in the developed worldAt the top are a few with immense wealth.  At the base children live in poverty though most live in families with at least one working adult, our Health Service is starved of resources and our schools are crumbling and  underfunded, limiting the chances of many for a fulfilling life.  Our care services are totally inadequate.

We are still one of the riches countries in the world, so this is not acceptable.

Liberal Democrats would fund the health, education and care services properly and provide a much more generous social security safety net for those, deserving or not, who  fall through the cracks.

Yes, of course, this will have to be paid for.  But don’t be fooled by the argument of artificially created fiscal rules.  With fairer taxation we can afford it, as most similar developed economies do.

An International Partner

Liberal Democrats do not regard foreigners as enemies. We believe that Britain should play a full and responsible part in international organisation such as the UN and World Health Organisation and uphold treaties such as the Paris Accord.

We will champion the Human Rights Act and the Strasbourg Court and restore the Overseas Aid bill. Our aim is to work with others to create world in which everyone has the opportunity to lead a decent life.

Local Decisions by and for Local People

Britain is one of the most centralised countries in the world.  This means that so much of what the government says, does and spends money on relates to London and the south east rather than other parts of the country.  Liberal Democrats want this sort of expenditure fairly distributed and its use decided locally.

We want to see our local government strengthened, brought closer to the people, and decisions shared with local people.

Co-operation

Our over-all aim is to promote co-operation rather than competition, in the workplace, between London and the Regions and nations of the UK, in Europe and internationally.  In the commercial world we want to see employees guaranteed a say in how their organisations are run and, where appropriate, a share in the profits.

Root and Branch reform

We  recognise that our political institutions are no longer fit for purpose.  Piecemeal patching is no longer sufficient.

We need fundamental changes to ensure that parliament actually controls the executive and not vice versa, a rationally constituted second chamber, a fairer electoral system, entrenched rights to devolved administrations and local government, protection for the BBC and other public service broadcasters, a more varied press responsible to owners who live and pay taxes in this country,  the independence of our courts and judges.

We need a system that will  endure, perhaps established with cross-party agreement via a Royal Commission advised by Citizens’ Assemblies.

 

Yes, I know, that’s very wordy and would probably fill three leaflets: who’s going to read all that idealistic garbage?  And we need to be careful to abide by the regulations as to what is permitted in election literature and reply slips. However, I’m sure our expert leaflet designers can cut down the verbiage and break it up with some illustrations.  Remember, the objective is to attract not votes but committed activists who will say: ”Yes, that ‘speaks to  my condition’”  and step forward to help us build a Liberal future.

I look forward to reading comments, criticisms and suggestions.

 

 

* Peter Wrigley is a member of Spen Valley Liberal Democrats and blogs as keynesianliberal.blogspot.com

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47 Comments

  • Steve Trevethan 25th Jan '24 - 9:31am

    Please, might we use fewer complex sentences and more short simple sentences?

  • nigel hunter 25th Jan '24 - 10:35am

    Yes.Short sentences with simple to understand words condence the info onto a leaflet.Then people quickly get the message.

  • Simon McGrath 25th Jan '24 - 10:57am

    “This means that so much of what the government says, does and spends money on relates to London and the south east rather than other parts of the country. Liberal Democrats want this sort of expenditure fairly distributed and its use decided locally.”

    This is nonsense . London and the SE are the powerhouse of the UK economy which happily means they provide huge fiscal transfers to the rest of the UK. £37.9bn from London and £13.9bn from the SE.n

  • David Robert Warren 25th Jan '24 - 11:06am

    Great article Peter. I couldn’t have put it better myself!

  • The single biggest thing that will get us more Members & Activists is getting more MPs & Councillors. Theres a wide range of predictions for how many MPs we will get this Year – anything from 25 to 45, but even the lower figure doubles our haul from 2019. From the sYear we can really start to rebuild across Britain.

    On the article itself – there’s always a balance to be struck between appealing to possible Members & Voters. Votes for us matter everywhere, in the long run.

  • Peter Davies 25th Jan '24 - 2:57pm

    If this government is making calous and stupid decisions for the North, it’s not because they are making good ones for London.

    This is the most fervently anti-London government I can remember. It is also the most anti-poor. That’s why fairness (meaning redistribution) has to be at the heart of our offering. It moves money from the South East to the rest of the country without buying in to the demonisation of London.

  • Simon McGrath, (a Councillor in the London Borough of Merton) gives some interesting figures when challenging Peter Wrigley’s article. Cllr McGrath claims Peter’s comments are “nonsense”, and that “London and the SE are the powerhouse of the UK economy which happily means they provide huge fiscal transfers to the rest of the UK. £37.9bn from London and £13.9bn from the SE”.

    Could Cllr McGrath please give references for his figures, and maybe reflect on the £ 19 billion plus cost of the Elizabeth line compared to the abject state of the cross-Pennine route where some almost new trains have been put in storage.

    Jo Grimond (that champion of regionalism) was Party Leader when I first joined the Spen Valley Liberals back in the early sixties and when, I understand, Peter Wrigley was teaching economics at Batley Grammar School.

  • @Paul Barker: “The single biggest thing that will get us more Members & Activists is getting more MPs & Councillors.”
    I think that is putting the cart before the horse. The only way to get MPs and councillors is to grow the member and activist base. Of course, we can win high profile by-elections because hundreds of activists pile in from all over the country. But we can only hold them if the local base is strengthened. In normal circumstances we simply can’t win anything without active local members.

  • Simon McGrath 25th Jan '24 - 7:15pm

    @David Raw- apols forgot to link to my source which is here (section 5) :
    https://www.ons.gov.uk/economy/governmentpublicsectorandtaxes/publicsectorfinance/articles/countryandregionalpublicsectorfinances/financialyearending2022

    Not sure of your point about the Elizabeth line. Of course we should invest in London – failing to do so will mean London economy is less able to generate surpluses to distribute to the rest of the UK. The point i was making was not that it would be sensible to invest in transport elsewhere but that a simple point of fact that London and the SE send many £bn to the rest of the UK – and that a good thing. But lets not pretend it isnt true

  • Peter Davies 25th Jan '24 - 7:31pm

    “Could Cllr McGrath please give references for his figures, and maybe reflect on the £ 19 billion plus cost of the Elizabeth line compared to the abject state of the cross-Pennine route where some almost new trains have been put in storage.”

    Only a small part of that £19m came from central government. Most came from sources controlled by the Mayor (e.g. Transport for London and a CrossRail Business Rate Supplement), The City of London Corporation or business interests that would benefit (Canary Wharf, Heathrow). Less explicable is the extension to Reading (which didn’t contribute and whose residents get all the seats).

    The Elisabeth Line is a big earner and will eventually pay TFL back. That’s because most households in London don’t have a car. The rest of the country won’t get to that happy state until they get a decent public transport network. It’s a vicious circle.

  • Mary Fulton 25th Jan '24 - 7:33pm

    Worrying poll by yougov today that had Reform UK on 13% and the Liberal Democrats at just 8%. I think we need to focus all our resources and efforts into those seats we have a good chance of winning rather than spreading too thinly. We must get as many MPs as possible to regain our credibility and relevance going forward.

  • Many thanks to Simon McGrath for providing his source. It is right and proper that the most prosperous part of the UK should invest in restoring prosperity to the less fortunate parts of the UK . This should be obvious to any Keynesian Liberal.

    It should also be obvious that the current Lib Dem concentration on the prosperous ‘blue wall’ seats in the Home Counties will lead it to become a regional rather than a national party, and more to the point, less sensitive to the needs of other parts of the UK. Putting all the eggs in one basket when it’s obvious the tide will inevitably turn back to its natural Tory Homeland seems unwise and lacking in foresight.

  • Chris Moore 25th Jan '24 - 9:04pm

    Hello, David Raw, I think you are over-stating your case re us becoming a regional party: many of our best prospects are in the West Country. We might also expect to gain a couple of seats in Wales, ditto in Scotland and a handful in the north of England.

    There are many councillors in the Midlands, North, West Country.

    @Mary: Post-the PO scandal finally being taken seriously by a previously indifferent public, we have had a series of poor poll results for obvious reasons. If this is not merely a temporary blip, I believe we should be renewing leadership.

  • Peter Davies 25th Jan '24 - 9:28pm

    @Mary Fulton The Polls are not that worrying. Electoral Calculus on the basis of current polls give us 30 seats and third party status while Reform get none.

  • James Fowler 25th Jan '24 - 10:08pm

    It’s not worrying that Reform are ahead, it helps us substantially.

  • @ Chris Moore I’m afraid the Home Counties and bits of the West Country are but a fraction of the United Kingdom.

    Time, of course, will tell, but as for gains in Scotland, Wales and the North of England please don’t be shy about naming your forecasted gains.

    I’m afraid you contradict yourself when you say the party needs a change of leadership – and – since the , “Post-the PO scandal (is) finally being taken seriously by a previously indifferent public, we have had a series of poor poll results”‘

  • Chris Moore mentions the Post Office scandal.

    The Lib Dems might redeem a bit of credit if they echoed the call in Wales (tonight’s BBC News) to end all Fujitsu contracts. Unfortunately (as with Europe) we just get silence.

  • @ Peter Davies “The Elisabeth Line is a big earner and will eventually pay TFL back”.

    Have you factored in the cost of rebranding the signage on the Elizabeth line, Peter ?

  • From the ONS report which Simon McGrath gave the link to, figure 5 is useful to see how uneven public sector expenditure is ranging from £17,800 per head in London to £13,900 in the East Midlands for 2022. What is interesting is that South East England was in tenth place with £14,500 per head, well below the UK figure of £15,500.

  • Excellent article … the 5 key areas are spot-on and give a distinctive & powerful identity to the party. I hope the leadership pay attention.

  • Peter Davies 26th Jan '24 - 7:50am

    After London (The only region with a slightly devolved government) come the three devolved nations. If looking for a trend, devolved regions and nations tend to have larger public sectors.

  • Chris Moore 26th Jan '24 - 8:27am

    Hello, David Raw, there’s no contradiction in what I’m saying. Our poll ratings HAVE gone down since the PO scandal.

    That doesn’t mean we are merely a regional south-east party.

    Why do you only mention the West Country and the Home Counties? Are you unaware of the fact that we have councillors and MPs in other parts of the country. In Scotland we have 4 MPs and two potential gains in Dunbartonshire and one of the two revamped Highland seats. Were you not aware of that?

  • Anthony Acton 26th Jan '24 - 9:22am

    With polling on 8% any hope of gains is dependent on massive tactical voting and seemingly that’s what the Blue Wall strategy is all about. I just hope it works. Meanwhile the latest news on the PO scandal is that in 2014 an LD led government department participated in the decision to call off the independent investigation by Second Sight. Ed had no ministerial responsibility for that decision, but nevertheless I fear for him when it comes to GE interviews, Question Time, etc. He really needs to think hard about this before it’s too late.

  • Alex Macfie 26th Jan '24 - 9:24am

    The most fertile non-target seats are likely to be the ones where we used to be strong. There are many seats that were formerly Lab~LD battlegrounds where we fell back from 2015, for obvious reasons. The upcoming Parliamentary by-election in Rochdale (which used to alternate between us and Labour, but where we are now a poor 4th place) is a good place to start. I do hope we take it seriously. We probably won’t win, but should aim for a strong 2nd place.

    I seriously doubt that Reform UK will do anything like as well as some recent polls are saying. Mid-term opinion polls often overestimate the vote share for small parties (except for us), then the serious electioneering happens and voters discover who is actually competitive where they live. But yes, it would help us if Reform did perform well and take votes from the Tories.

    Not convinced either that the PO scandal will serious dent our performance. For one thing, look at last week’s local by-election results. We seem to have started to slip before that scandal broke, but some pollsters are showing us going up recently. And as I wrote in another thread, any Tory attack on us over it is likely to backfire because so many Tory politicians have much dirtier fingers in the affair.

  • Suzanne Fletcher 26th Jan '24 - 10:26am

    I like the idea in the article, and of course the wording can be improved but setting out our values is something I support, as someone in a no win seat.
    re the discussion on London, we in the NE do not want London to send us their money we want to make our own.

  • @Anthony Acton: Do you mean this story:
    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-68079300
    The article focuses on the role of a Post Office sub-committee. There is no mention of the Lib Dems as a party. Jo Swinson is mentioned, but without any suggestion she knew what was going on. Political nerds may be aware that the PO brief was part of “an LD led government department”, but that’s not the vast majority of voters.
    Is there any article on this story that actually mentions the Lib Dems and tries to imply that we were involved in it?

  • Freedom, Fairness and open, international Focus.

  • Anthony Acton 26th Jan '24 - 11:43am

    Alex – I hope you’re right, but I still remember Jeremy Thorpe’s warning in a speech during the South Northants by-election in 1962 “They say that a rat is at its most dangerous when it’s cornered – and there’s no rat more dangerous than a cornered Tory”. The Tories are cornered now as never before and I still fear they and their media friends will skewer Ed in the GE campaign with the PO scandal, however unfair that may be.

  • Nonconformistradical 26th Jan '24 - 12:07pm

    @Suzanne Fletcher
    “we in the NE do not want London to send us their money we want to make our own.”

    But perhaps you’d like a fair proportion of your membership sub to be available to your local party..?

    Is that happening?

  • @ Alex Macfie “Jo Swinson is mentioned, but without any suggestion she knew what was going on”……… I rather thought that was supposed to be part of the problem, Alex.

    @ Chris Moore, “Are you unaware of the fact that we have councillors and MPs in other parts of the country. In Scotland we have 4 MPs and two potential gains in Dunbartonshire and one of the two revamped Highland seats. Were you not aware of that ?”

    Given I was elected and re-elected five times as a Councillor both in Scotland and the North of England (and polled nearly 30% as a parliamentary candidate in Yorkshire), it’s a reasonable supposition that I know a bit about the current situation in the North and in Scotland, Chris ….. but your optimism does you credit.

  • Chris Moore 26th Jan '24 - 1:01pm

    @Anthony Acton: you have misunderstood what the article said about Jo Swinson’s role.

    In Parliament she pointed to Second Sight’s independent role in investigating Horizon.

    She was certainly NOT involved in the PO’s plan to take the investigation away from Second Sight.

  • @ Chris Moore re Ms Swinson’s Post Office statement.

    Here’s the Hansard on-line reference for what was said and by whom :

    Post Office – Horizon System – Hansard – UK Parliament

    Hansard – UK Parliament
    https://hansard.parliament.uk › commons › debates
    9 Jul 2013 — Yesterday evening, an interim report into alleged problems with the Post Office’s Horizon computer system was published……………………………………

  • Chris Moore 26th Jan '24 - 2:26pm

    Sorry, David, I was being a bit provocative…. I’m aware you live in Scotland from some of your previous interventions.

    You do realise if the LDs took those two target seats in Scotland, they’d have more than 10% of the Scottish seats. Extrapolate nationally: we’d be on 65 seats plus. Wouldn’t we be happy with that?

    Btw I wanted to ask you, is there any aspect of the current party you DO like?

  • Alex Macfie 26th Jan '24 - 2:30pm

    @David Raw: It was hardly the Minister’s fault that the PO didn’t bother to tell her about the action (sacking Second Sight) until long after it had happened. Civil servants knew about it, but government ministers did not. Certainly Jo’s statement to Parliament in December 2014 (after the PO action) suggests she had not been informed about it.
    https://inews.co.uk/news/post-office-investigators-horizon-2875057

    Honestly any attempt to pin this on the Lib Dems would just look ridiculous, a last act of extreme desperation by a cornered party. And when someone is cornered, their attempts to deflect blame look much less credible anyway.

  • Guys – some of you seem to have veered off into other territory. Can we please keep to the very interesting questions raised in the original post?

  • Suzanne Fletcher 26th Jan '24 - 6:52pm

    @non conformist radical – I thought Simon was talking about redistributing wealth not party subs?

  • Nonconformistradical 26th Jan '24 - 7:32pm

    @Suzanne Fletcher
    The Party should lead by example.

    In the OP it states:
    “However, if (when) the prioritising of the Blue Wall has proved a resounding success, that does not mean the rest of the UK can be neglected.”

  • Simon McGrath 26th Jan '24 - 9:19pm

    Peter : “ Simon McGrath and many others. The point about redistribution from wealthy to poorer areas is not just that there’s not enough of it, but that its expenditure should be decided by local and regional authorities rather than Westminster/Whitehall. |Local people know best what’s good for them.”

    I am afraid i do not understand you. Isnt the amount of regional distrubution exactly the sort of thing which only central govt can decide?

  • Peter Davies 26th Jan '24 - 10:40pm

    There is an increasing tendancy for central government to attach ‘pots’ of money to specific solutions then let local authorities vie for the best problem to fit them to.

    That is a very bad idea compared to either redistributing from rich authorities to poor ones and letting them decide their own priorities or redistributing from rich to poor individuals which would increase the tax base and decrease the required expenditure of poorer areas.

  • Peter Wrigley 27th Jan '24 - 11:33am

    Simon McGrath I’m sorry there is confusion. Yes, I believe the central government should decide on the size of the redistribution fund and its allocation to the poorer areas (though preferably using a different formula to that used by the Conservatives to direct much of the levelling-up funds to Tory-held constituencies). But once allocated, the local authorities should be trusted to decide how to spend it.

    Peter Davies raises an important issue. The fashion for requiring local authorities to submit “bids” for the funds is both wrong and wasteful. Wrong because it keeps the power at the centre rather than where locals know best, and wasteful because local authorities who do not “win” the prizes have spent time and resources but received nothing. We need to trust local people.

  • From the article, “We are still one of the richest countries in the world, so…”

    That’s often used as the foundational assumption to build an argument on. It was true once, a long time ago, but no longer.

    Consider the economy in terms of broad sectors:
    • Oil & gas (and other raw materials) – large deficit, growing as NS oil & gas decline.
    • Agriculture & fisheries (food) – large deficit, growing as population explodes.
    • Manufacturing – large deficit. Thatcher aimed to fix this but failed badly.
    • Domestic services – “taking in each other’s washing”. Not important in international trade.
    • International services (mainly ‘The City’) – Historically a big surplus; post-Brexit falling out of the global ‘first division’.

    Just one sector with a surplus – so how does the idea persist that Britain is a rich country? Some suggestions:
    • The people who have the money, make more money, write about it, and legislate mostly live in and around London and a few other enclaves. The view from, say, Doncaster is very different.
    • It’s better to blank issues where you have nothing to contribute. ALL political parties do that view.

    The balance of payments deficit has been balanced by capital inflows, largely to buy up companies and properties (AKA ‘selling the family jewels’). Meanwhile, the domestic economy is kept afloat by running up debt – privatised as mortgages and student loans.

    When will the music stop? And what happens when it does?

  • Peter Wrigley 29th Jan '24 - 7:56am

    Gordon: all but one of the things you list refer to international trade and the balance of external payments. It is true that the balance of payments deficit is frighteningly large and if this persists over time this lowers our standard of living. But that is still pretty high.

    A crude measure of the standard of living is given by the per capital GDP. To make international comparisons this is expressed in US$. There are many tables for this.

    In this one:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_GDP_(PPP)_per_capita we come at 27th out of 180 countries. If you cut out the smaller counties you will see that we still make the top 10 or so of the larger economies (US, Germany etc), so pretty wealthy. We ca ‘t use poverty as an excuse for run down puvli services and families living in destitution. Out problem is the very inequitable distribution of income and wealth.

  • @ Peter Wrigley

    Yes, as you say, Britain is among the leaders by GDP (PPP) per capita. But just as an individual can maintain a wealthy lifestyle if others are prepared to extend credit, so can a country. But… we’re not paying our way, so we are on a slippery slope.

    Unfortunately, MMT doesn’t help in an international context. If lenders come to believe there is no way to get their money (and interest) back, they will stop lending and that could follow a sudden change of sentiment. Hence the exchange in Hemmingway’s ‘The Sun Also Rises’.
    Bill: “How did you go bankrupt?”
    Mike: “Gradually and then suddenly.”

    My fear is a (relatively sudden) collapse in confidence of that sort. Any number of things could be the trigger, but we can be sure the longer we don’t’ have a truly competitive economy, the greater the risk.

    Moreover, I’m convinced that the underlying cause of both the weak economy and the inequality you rightly condemn is the neoliberal paradigm that’s guided policy for over 40 years irrespective of who’s been in government. We should be on a path that would gladden Liberal hearts.

    For example, the poverty of so many means they aren’t producing and earning enough – but why? Well, one reason is poor training, so we routinely default to importing skilled workers so decent housing becomes unaffordable, the environment is hammered and so on and so on in an unsustainable chain of failure.

  • Peter Wrigley 30th Jan '24 - 6:42pm

    It’s true we’re on a downward slippery slope: probably have been since 1945, and certainly since the mid 70s, Thatcherism and the adoption of neo-liberal policies. However, the “sudden collapse of confidence” hasn’t happened yet and we are =still rich enough to afford a decent public realm and safety net to abolish poverty.

  • David Raw 25th Jan ’24 – 10:16pm:
    The Lib Dems might redeem a bit of credit if they echoed the call in Wales (tonight’s BBC News) to end all Fujitsu contracts.

    EU law requires each contract to be evaluated on its own merits. The Procurement Act 2023, expected to apply from October, will enable previous performance to be considered – another Brexit Benefit from being outside the EU ‘single market’.

    ‘Simpler, more flexible and transparent procurement: Procurement Bill factsheet’ [May 2022]:
    https://www.gov.uk/government/news/simpler-more-flexible-and-transparent-procurement

    The Bill will replace the current bureaucratic and process-driven EU regime for public procurement…
    […]

    The Bill will put in place a new exclusions framework that will make it easier to exclude suppliers who have underperformed on other contracts. It will also create a new ‘debarment register’, accessible to all public sector organisations, which will list suppliers who must or may be excluded from contracts.

    David Frost explains how this was enabled by the 2020 TCA negotiations:
    https://twitter.com/DavidGHFrost/status/1749045185567223932

    More background from David Halpern…

    ‘Learning from Fujitsu: The importance of procurement reform’ [January 2024]:
    https://www.bi.team/blogs/learning-from-fujitsu-the-importance-of-procurement-reform/

    There is incredulity that despite Fujitsu’s huge failures, it continued to be awarded government contracts again and again. Sadly this is not surprising and I saw for myself in government that contractors could ‘fail upwards’ with very limited accountability.

  • Gordon 27th Jan ’24 – 6:39pm:
    International services (mainly ‘The City’) – Historically a big surplus; post-Brexit falling out of the global ‘first division’.

    Actually, the UK is a Premiership exporter and the perennial runner-up for the services exporter world cup. UK services exports reached a record £397bn in 2022 and rose a further 19% to £472bn in the 12 months to November 2023…

    ‘BREXIT 4th Anniversary: Britain’s Brexit Success’ [January 2024]:
    https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/media/65ba6d52f51b1000136a7e3d/brexit-4th-anniversary-accessible-version.pdf

    Increasing UK exports across the globe
    The UK was the fifth biggest exporter in the world in 2022, up from sixth in 2021 and achieved £870 billion exports in the 12 months to November 2023.

    British services exports are at an all-time high
    The UK is the second biggest services exporter in the world. With UK services exports reaching a record £472 billion in the 12 months to November 2023 and now making up a record share of UK exports, at 54% – up from 48% in 2018 and up from a share of 30% just 30 years ago

    Services exports to the EU are at a record high
    Reaching £169 billion in the 12 months to September 2023, up from £126 billion in 2018. With key sectors such as professional business services and telecomms, computer and information services driving growth.

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